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THe white ros 




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Uniform wU/i the above. 



London: WARD, LOCK, & CO., Salisbury Square, E.G. 




new edition: 




I he Man in the Street . . . . . . I 

The Young Idea . . , . , . S 


NORAH .,..., .... . . I3 

Mr. Vandeleub • 19 

The Maid of the Mil;, . ... . .... 25 

Grinding ...31 

A Cat's Paw 37 

Mor Ciiesinuts .0 . 44 

iv Contents. 


A Passage of Arms . . . v) 

An Appointment ... 55 


A Disappointment . ...... 62 

Reaction 7° 

Goose-Step • 73 

Wearing the Green ......... hi 

" The White Witch " . tf6 

Pious ^Eneas ... ...... >2 

The Girls we leave behind us /oo 

For Better 105 

For Worse . . .112 

The Honeyhoon ♦ 118 

Contents. V 

Retribution , . 123 

French Lessons 129 

" Sotvre LA Gagnante " I37 

The Woman he Loved 143 

"The Woman he Married '•' ....... 149 

The Ruling Passion 154 

Disagreeable 159 

Despotic 167 

Dangerous 17? 

A Woman's Work 18c 

"After Long Years" 184 


MR. BARRINGTON-BELGRAT2, , . . . f . . 19: 

vi Contents. 

Original Composition . . , .196 

The Cup Day . . .... 202 

Tight Shoes . ...... 208 

Non CuiviS .... .... 214 

Shining Rives 221 

A. Refusal 229 

A, Rebuff ... 234 



The Reason Why . . . . , 

Without 243 

Within 248 

♦Lost, Stolen, or Strayed" . 256 

! Old Grits" .... s .» ... 260 

Contents. vil 


"' 112 Little Red Rovxr" . . . . 26G 

"Immortelles" . . , , . 272 


" SURGIT AMARI " . ..... 278 

"He cometh not" . ....... 284 

Double Acrostics . . ... . . 290 

The Star of the West > 296 

" Fais ce que dois " 303 

"Advienne ce que pourra'-' o • . • 309 

Hdnting her down . . ...... 315 

Palliatives ..*•••!-. •: 3 20 

Anodynes «... 326 

iOLD OUT ... 333 

viii Contents. 



"For Aeld Lang Syne" ....*«.. 337 

The Manager's Box , 343 

Exit a »«.....• < . . 349 

After Long Yeaes • « < • 353 




It was dawn — dawn here in London, almost as cool and clear as 
in the pleasant country, where the bird was waking in the garden 
and the tall poplar stirred and quivered in the morning breeze. 
It was dawn on the bold outline of the inland hills, dawn on the 
dreary level of the deep, dark sea. Night after night daylight 
returns to nature, as sorrow after sorrow hope comes back to 
man. Even in the hospital — say St. George's Hospital, for that 
<tvas nearest to where I stood — the bright-eyed morning stole in 
to greet a score of sufferers, who had longed for her coming 
;hrough weary hours of pain, to welcome her arrival as nurse, 
Dhysician, friend ; and although on one dead, upturned face the 
grey light shed a greyer, ghastlier gleam — what then ? — a spirit 
jiad but broken loose from last night's darkness, and departed in 
the tremble of twilight for the land beyond the grave, the place 
of everlasting day. It was dawn, too, in the long perspective of 
the silent streets — silent none the less for the booted tramp of 
an occasional policeman, for the rumbling of a belated cab, for 
shifting figures flitting like ghosts round distant corners — squalid, 
restless, degraded, and covered far too scantily with aught but 
shame. And it was dawn in the principal rooms of one of the 
best houses in London, filled with the great ones of the earth, or 
as they term themselves, somewhat presumptuously, with " none 
but the best people" — a dawn less welcome here than in deep 
copse or breezy upland, than on the wide, lone sea, in the hushed 

i, The tVhite Rose. 

ward of the hospital, or among the narrow streets — greeted, in- 
deed, as a deliverer only by a few outwearied chaperones, and 
perhaps by the light-fingered musicians, who had still an endless 
cotillon to work through before they could cover up their instru 
ments and go to bed. 

I had been down to supper — that is to say, I had stretched nf, 
arm over a white shoulder for half-a-tumbler of champagne and 
seltzer- water (the latter good of its kind), and had absorbed most 
of it in my glove, whilst I ministered at the same time to the 
wants of a stately dame whom I remember — ah ! so long ago — 
the slimmest and the lightest mover that ever turned a partner's 
nead in a waltz (we did not call them round dances then), and 
whom I now contemplate, when we meet, with mingled feelings 
of respect, astonishment, and gratitude for deliverance from pos- 
sible calamity. She was not satisfied with champagne and seltzer- 
water, far from it — though she drank that mixture with gratifi- 
cation too : but wisely restored vitality after the fatigues of the 
evening by a substantial supper, and I am not sure but that she 
had earned her provender fairly enough. 

" You must take me back now, please," she said, "or the girls 
won't know where to find me!" 

I wonder whether she thought of the time when her mamma 
didn't know where to find us, and the scolding she got in the 
carriage going home. I was sure she must have had it by the 
black looks and stiff bow I myself encountered in the Park next 

Dear ! dear ! was there ever any state of society in which 
youthful affections, fancies, attachments, call them what you 
will, were of a material to withstand the wear of a little time, a 
little absence, a good deal of amusement bordering on dissipation ? 
Would such an Arcadia be pleasant or wearisome, or is it simply 
impossible ? Alas ! I know not j but as far as my own observa- 
tion goes, you may talk of your first love as poetically as you 
please — it's your last love that comes in and makes a clean sweep 
of everything on the board. 

I need scarcely observe, this is not the remark I made as we 
laboured heavily up Lady Billesdon s staircase, and parted at a 
doorway crowded to suffocation half-an-hour ago, but affording 
fair ingress and egress now, for the company were departing} 
hoarse voices announced that carriages " stopped the way," or 
their owners were "coming out j" while the linkman, with a 
benevolence beyond all praise, hoped " her Grace had not for- 
gotten him," and that " the young ladies enjoyed their ball !" 

The Man in the Street. 3 

It was time for the young ladies to go, unless perhaps they 
were very young indeed, quite in their first season. Through 
the open squares of the ball-room windows a grey gap in the sky, 
already tinged with blue, was every moment widening into day. 
Lamps, and bright eyes too, began to wear a faded lustre, while 
the pale morning light, creeping along the passages and staircase, 
seemed to invade the company, dancers and all, like some merci- 
less epidemic from which there was no escape. Perhaps thisi 
might account for much of the hooding, wrapping-up, and general 
hurry of departure. 

To a majority of the performers, besides those who have been 
fulfilling a duty and are glad it is over, I am not sure but that 
this same going away constitutes the pleasantest part of a ball. 
In a gathering of which amusement is the ostensible object, it is 
strange how many of the stronger and more painful feelings of 
our nature can be aroused by causes apparently trivial in them- 
selves, but often leading to unlooked-for results. How many a 
formal greeting masks a heart that thrills, and a pulse that leaps, 
to the tone of somebody's voice, or the rustle of somebody's 
dress. How many a careless inquiry, being interpreted, signifies 
g volume of protestation or a torrent of reproach. With what 
electric speed can eager eyes, from distant corners, flash the 
expected telegram along the wires of mutual intelligence, through 
a hundred unconscious bystanders, and make two people happy 
who haV'B not exchanged one syllable in speech. There is no 
end to '' the hopes and fears that shake a single ball j" but it is 
when tlie ball is nearly over, and the cloaking for departure 
begins, that the hopes assume a tangible form and the fears are 
satisfactorily dispelled. It is so easy to explain in low, pleading 
whispers why such a dance was refused, or such a cavalier pre- 
ferred under the frown of authority, or in fear of the convenances ; 
so pleasant to lean on a strong arm, in a nook not only sheltered 
from doorway draughts, but a little apart from the stream of 
company, while a kind hand adjusts the folds of the burnous 
with tender care, to be rewarded by a hasty touch, a gentle 
pressure, perhaps a flower, none the less prized that it has out- 
lived its bloom. How precious are such moments, and how 
fleeting ! Happy indeed if protracted ever so little by the fortu- 
nate coincidence of a footman from the country, a coachman 
fast asleep on his box, and a carriage that never comes till long 
after it has been called ! 

I stood at the top of Lady Billesdon s staircase and watched 
the usual "business'' with an attention partly flagging from 

4 The JPhiteRoie. 

weariness, partly diverted in the contemplation of my hostess 
herself, whose pluck and endurance, while they would have done 
honour to the youngest Guardsmen present, were no less extra* 
ordinary than admirable in an infirm old lady of threescore. 
Without counting a dinner-party (to meet Royalty), she had 
been "under arms," so to speak, for more than five r ours, erect 
at the doorway of her own ball-room, greeting her guests, one 
by one, as they arrived, with unflagging cordiality, never missing 
the bow, the hand-shake, nor the "right thing" said to each. 
On her had devolved the ordering, the arrangements, the whole 
responsibility of the entertainment, the invitations accorded — 
above all, the invitations denied ! And now she stood before 
me, that great and good woman, without a quiver of fatigue in 
her eyelids, an additional line of care on her quiet matronly 

It was wonderful ! It must have been something more than 
enthusiasm that kept her up, something of that stern sense of 
duty which fixed the Roman soldier at his post when the boiling 
deluge swept a whole population before it, and engulfed 
pleasant, wicked Pompeii in a sea of fire. But it was her own 
kind heart that prompted the hope I had been amused, and the 
pleasant " Good-night " with which she replied to my farewell 
bow and sincere congratulations (for she was an old friend) on 
the success of her ball. 

Lady Billesdon, and those like her who give large entertain- 
ments, at endless trouble and expense, for the amusement of their 
friends, deserve more gratitude from the charming young people 
of both sexes who constitute the rising generation of society in 
London than these are inclined to admit. It is not to be sup- 
posed that an elderly lady of orderly habits, even with daughters 
to marry, can derive much enjoyment from a function which 
turns her nice house out of windows, and keeps her weary self 
afoot and waking till six o'clock in the morning ; but if people 
whose day for dancing has gone by did not thus sacrifice their 
comfort and convenience to the pleasures of their juniors, I will 
only ask the latter to picture to themselves what a dreary waste 
would be the London season, what a desolate round of recurring 
penance would seem parks, shoppings, operas, and those eternal 
dinners, unrelieved by a single ball ! 

Some such reflections as these so engrossed my attention as I 
went down-stairs, mechanically fingering the latch-key in my 
waistcoat-pocket, that I am ashamed to say I inadvertently trod 
©n the dress of a lady in front of me, and was only made awaro 

The Man In the Street. § 

of my awkwardness when she turned her head, and with a half- 
shy, half-formal bow accosted me by name. 

" It is a long time since we have met," she said, detaching her- 
self for a moment from the arm of a good-looking man who was 
taking her to her carriage, while she put her hand out, and added, 
"but I hope you have not quite forgotten me." 

Forgotten her ! a likely thing, indeed, that any man between 
sixteen and sixty, who had ever known Leonora Welby, should 
forget her while he retained his senses ! I had not presence of 
mind to exclaim, as a good-for-nothing friend of mine always 
does on such occasions, " I wish I could ! " but, reflecting that I 
had been three hours in the same house without recognising her, 
I bowed over the bracelet on her white arm, stupefied, and when 
T recovered my senses, she had reached the cloak-room, and dis- 

" 'Gad, how well she looks to-night ! " said a hoarse voice 
behind me j " none of the young ones can touch her even now. 
It's not the same form, you see — not the same form." 

"She? who?" I exclaimed j for my wits were still wool- 

"Who? why Mrs. Vandeleur ! " was the reply. "You 
needn't swagger as if you didn't know her, when she turned 
round on purpose to shake hands with you, — a thing I haven't 
seen her do for half-a-dozen men this season. I am a good bit 
over fifty, my boy ; and till I've bred a horse that can win the 
Derby, I don't mean to turn my attention to anything else j but 
I can tell you, if she did as much for me twice in a week, I 
shouldn't know whether I was standing on my grey head or my 
gouty heels. She's a witch — that's what she is : and you and I 
vre old enough to keep out of harm's way. Good-night ! " 

Old Cotherstone was right. She was a witch; but how diffe- 
rent from, and oh ! how infinitely more dangerous than, the 
witches our forefathers used to gag, and drown, and burn, with- 
out remorse. She was coming out of the cloak-room again, still 
haunted by that good-looking young gentleman, who was pro- 
bably over head and ears in love with her, and I could stare at 
her without rudeness now, from my post of observation on the 
landing. Yes, it was no wonder I had not recognised her ; 
though the dark pencilled eyebrows and the deep-fringed eyes 
were Norah Welby's, it was hardly possible to believe that this 
high-bred, queenly, beautiful woman, could be the laughing, 
light-hearted girl I remembered in her father's parsonage some 
ten or fifteen years ago. 

6 the White Rose. 

She was no witch (hen. She was a splendid enchantress now, 
There was a magic in the gleam that tinged her dark chestnut 
hair with gold ; magic in the turn of her small head, her delicate 
temples, her chiselled features, her scornful, self-reliant mouth, 
and the depth of her large, dark, loving eyes. Every movement 
of the graceful neck, of the tall, lithe figure, of the shapely 
limbs, denoted pride, indeed, but it was a pride to withstand 
injury, oppression, misfortune, insult, all the foes that could 
attack it from without, and to yield only at the softening touch 
of love. 

As she walked listlessly to her carriage, taking, it seemed to 
me, but little heed of her companion, I imagined I could detect, 
in a certain weariness of step and gesture, the tokens of a life 
unsatisfied, a destiny incomplete. I wonder what made me 
think of Sir Walter Raleigh flinging down his gold-embroidered 
cloak, the only precious thing he possessed, at the feet of the 
maiden queen ? The young adventurer doubtless acted on a 
wise calculation and a thorough knowledge of human, or at least 
of feminine, nature ; but there is here and there a woman in the 
world for whom a man flings his very heart down, recklessly 
and unhesitatingly, to crush and trample if she will. Sometimes 
she treads it into the mire, but oftener, I think, she picks it up, 
and takes it to her own breast, a cherished prize, purer, better, 
and holier for the ordeal through which it has passed. 

I had no carriage to take me home, and wanted none. No 
gentle voice when I arrived there, kind or querulous, as the case 
might be, to reproach me with the lateness of the hour. Shall 
I say of this luxury also, that I wanted none ? No ; buttoning 
my coat, and reliant on my latch-key, I passed into the grey 
morning and the bleak street, as. Mrs. Vandeleur's carriage drove 
off, and the gentleman who had attended her walked back with 
a satisfied air into the house for his overcoat, and possibly his 
cigar-case. As he hurried in, he was fastening a white rose in 
his button-hole. A sister flower, drooping and fading, perhaps 
from nearer contact with its late owner, lay unnoticed on the 
pavement. I have seen so many of these vegetables exchanged, 
particularly towards the close of an entertainment, that I took 
little notice either of the keepsake, precious and perishable, or its 
discarded companion ; but I remember now to have heard in 
clubs and other places of resort, how pale beautiful Mrs. Van- 
deleur went by the name of the White Rose ; a title none the 
less appropriate, that she was supposed to be plentifully girt with 
thorns, and that m.iny well-known fingers were said to Have 

I he Alun en *nt o'trat.. / 

been pricked to the bone in their ellbrts to detach her from h«r 

There is a philosophy in most men towards five in the morn- 
ing, supposing them to have been up all night, which tends to 
an idle contemplation of human nature, and indulgent forbear- 
ance towards its weaknesses. I generally encourage this frame 
of mind by the thoughtful consumption of a cigar. Turning 
round to light one, a few paces from Lady Billesdon s door, I 
was startled to observe a shabbily-dressed figure advance stealthily 
from the corner of the street, where it seemed to have been on 
the watch, and pounce at the withered rose, crushed and yellow- 
ing on the pavement. As it passed swiftly by me, I noticed the 
figure was that of a man in the prime of life, but in bad health, 
and apparently in narrow circumstances. His hair was matted, 
his face pale, and his worn-out clothes hung loosely from the 
angles of his frame. He took no heed of my presence, was pro- 
bably unconscious of it ; for I perceived his eyes fill with tears 
as he pressed the crushed flower passionately to his lips and heart, 
muttering in broken sentences the while. 

I only caught the words, " I have seen you once more, my 
darling ! I swore I would, and it is worth it all ! " Then hi* 
strength gave way, for he stopped and leaned his head against 
the area railings of the street. I could see, by the heaving of his 
shoulders, the man was sobbing like a child. Uncertain how to 
act, ere I could approach nearer he had recovered himself and 
was gone. 

Could this be her doing ? Was Norah Vandeleur indeed a 
witch, and was nobody to be exempt from her spells ? Was she 
to send home the sleek child of fortune, pleased with the super- 
fluity of a flower and a flirtation too much, while she could not 
even spare the poor emaciated wretch who had darted on the 
withered rose she dropped with the avidity of a famished hawk 
on its prey ? What could he be, this man? and what connection 
could possibly exist between him and handsome, high-bred Mrs. 
Vandeleur ? 

All these things I learned afterwards, partly from my own 
observation, partly from the confessions of those concerned. 
Adding to my early recollections of Norah Welby the circum- 
stances that came to my knowledge both before and after she 
changed her name to Vandeleur, I am enabled to tell my tale, 
such as it is ; and I can think of no more appropriate title for 
t he story of a fair and suffering woman than " The White Rose." 


8 The Whita Rote. 



On a fine sunshiny morning, not very many yean ago, two boys 
— I beg their pardon, two young gentlemen — were sitting in the 
comfortless pupil-room of a " retired officer and graduate or 
Cambridge," undergoing the process of being " crammed." The 
retired officer and graduate of Cambridge had disappeared for 
luncheon, and the two young gentlemen immediately laid aside 
their books to engage in an animated discussion totally uncon- 
nected with their previous studies. It seemed such a relief to 
unbend the mind after an hour's continuous attention to any 
subject whatever, that they availed themselves of the welcome 
relaxation without delay. I am bound to admit their conversa- 
tion was instructive in the least possible degree. 

" I say, Gerard," began the elder of the two, " what's become 
of Dandy? He was off directly after breakfast, and to-day's his 
day for ' General Information." I wonder ' Nobs ' stood it, but 
he lets Dandy do as he likes." 

"Nobs," be it observed, was the term of respect by which Mr. 
Archer was known among his pupils. 

"Nobs is an old muff, and Dandy's a swell," answered Gerard, 
who had tilted his chair on its hind-legs against the wall for 
the greater convenience of shooting paper-spills at the clock. 
" I shall be off, too, as soon as I have finished these equations ; 
and I'm afraid, Dolly, you'll have to spend another afternoon by 

He spoke nervously, and stooped so low to pick one of the 
spills, that it seemed to bring all the blood in his body to his 
facej but his blushes v-ere lost on Dolly, who looked out ol 
window, and answered tranquilly — 

" Like all great men, Gerard, I am never so little alone as 
when alone — ' My mind to me a thingamy is ! ' You two 
fellows have no resources within yourselves. Now I shall slope 
easily down to the mill, lift the trimmers, smoke a weed with 
old ' Grits,' and wile away the pleasant afternoon with a pot of 
mild porter ; — peradventure, if Grits is thirsty — of which 1 
make small doubt — we shall accomplish two. And where may 
you be going, Master Jerry, this piping afternoon ? Not across 
the marshes again, my boy. You've been there twice already 
this week." 

The Young tdea. 


Once more Gerard blushed like a girl, and this time without 
escaping the observation of his companion; nor was his confusion 
lessened by the good-humoured malice with which the latter 
began to sing in a full mellow voice — 

" She hath an eye so soft and brown — 

'Ware, hare I 
She gives a side glance, and looks down — 

'Ware, hare I 

Master Jerry, she's fooling thee ! " 

Dolly, whose real name nobody ever called him by, enjoyed a 
great talent for misquotation, and a tendency to regard life 
in general from its ludicrous point of view. Otherwise, he was 
chiefly remarkable for a fat, jovial face ; a person to correspond; 
strong absorbing and digestive faculties ; a good humour that 
nothing could ruffle; and an extraordinary facility in dismissing 
useful information from his mind. He was heir to a sufficient 
fortune, and, if he could pass his examination, his friends 
intended he should become a Hussar. 

Mr. Archer was at this period employed in the preparation of 
three young gentlemen for the service of her Majesty. Military 
examinations were then in an early stage of development, but 
created, nevertheless, strong misgivings in the minds of parents 
and guardians, not to mention the extreme disgust with which 
they were viewed by future heroes indisposed to book-learning. 
It was a great object to find an instructor who could put the 
required amount of information into a pupil's head in the 
shortest possible space of time, without reference to its stay there 
after an examination had been passed, and Mr. Archer was 
notorious for his success in this branch of tuition. Clever or 
stupid, idle or industrious, with him it was simply a question of 

" I will put your young gentleman through the mill," he 
would observe to an anxious father or an over-sanguine mamma; 
"but whether it takes him three months or six, or a whole 
year, depends very much upon himself. Natural abilities ! 
there's no such thing! If he will learn, he shall; if he won't, 
he must !" 

So Mr. Archer's three small bed-rooms, with their white 
furniture and scanty carpets, never wanted occupants ; the 
bare, comfortless pupil-room, with its dirty walls and dingy 
ceiling, never remained empty ; and Mr. Archer himself, who 
was really a clever man, found his banker's account increasing in 
proportion to his own disgust for history, classics, geometry, 

I© The White Rose. 

Engineering — all that had once afforded him a true scholar's 
delight, it speaks well for learning, and the spells she casts 
over her lowers, that they can never quite free themselves from 
her fascinations. Even the over-worked usher of a grammar- 
school needs but a few weeks' rest to return to his allegiance^ 
and to glory once more in the stern mistress he adores. Mr. 
Archer, after a few months' vacation, could perhaps take pride 
and pleasure in the cultivation of his intellect : but at the end 
of his half-year, jaded, disgusted, and over-worked, ii>; could 
have fouivi it in his heart to envy the very day-labourer mowing 
his lawn. 

That this military Mentor had enough on his hands may be 
gathered from the following summary of his pupils : — 

First. Granville Burton, a young gentleman of prepossessing 
appearance, and a florid taste in dress. Antecedents : Eton , 
two ponies, a servant of his own at sixteen, and a mother who 
had spoilt him from the day he was born. Handsome, fathei less, 
and heir to a good property, ever since he could remember he 
had been nicknamed "Dandy," and was intended for the Life- 

Secondly. Charles Egremont, commonly called Dolly, already 

Lastly. Gerard Ainslie, one of those young gentlemen of 
whom it is so difficult to predict the future — a lad in years, a 
man in energy, but almost a woman in feelings. Gifted, 
indeed, with a woman's quick perceptions and instinctive sense 
of right, but cursed with her keen affections, her vivid fancy, 
and painful tendencies to self-torture and self-immolaticn. 
Such a character is pretty sure to be popular both with men 
and boys ; also, perhaps, with the other sex. Young Ainslie, 
having his own way to make in the world, often boasted that he 
always " lit on his legs." 

An orphan, and dependent on a great-uncle whom he seldom 
saw, the army was indeed to be his profession ; and to him, far 
more than either of the others, it was important that he should 
go up for his examinations with certainty of success. It is need- 
less to observe that he was the idlest of the three. By fits and 
starts he would take it into his head to work hard for a week at 
a time-— '' Going in for a grind/' as he called it — with a vigour 
and determination that astonished Mr. Archer himself. 

" Ainslie," observed that gentleman after one of these efforts, 
in which his pupil had done twice the usual tasks in half the 
usual time, " there are two sorts of fools — the fool positive, who 

The Young Idea. 11 

ran't help himself, and the fool superlative, who won't ! You 
make me think you belong to the Luter class. If you would 
only exert yourself, you might pass in a month from this time." 

"1 can work, sir, well enough," n. plied the pupil, "when I 
have an object." 

" An object ! " retorted the tutor, lifting his eyebrows In that 
stage of astonishment which is but one degree removed from 
disgust ; " gracious heavens, sir, if your whole success in life, 
your character, your position, the very bread you eat, is not an 
object, I should like to know what is ! " 

Gerard knew, but he wasn't going to tell Mr. Archer ; and I 
think that in this instance the latter showed less than his usual 
tact and discrimination in the characters of the young. 

It was in pursuit of this object no doubt that Gerard finished 
his equations so rapidly, and put his books on the shelf with a 
nervous eagerness that denoted more than common excitement, 
to which Dolly's imperturbable demeanour afforded a wholesome 

" Off again, Jerry," observed the latter, still intent on a 
mathematical figure requiring the construction of a square and 
a circle, on which he lavished much unnecessary accuncy and 
neatness, to the utter disregard of the demonstration it involved; 
" I envy you, my boy — and yet I would not change places 
with you after all. You'll have a pleasant journey, like the cove 
in the poem — 

All in the blue unclouded weather 
Thick-jewelled shone the saddle-leather, 
The helmet and the helmet feather 
Burnt like one burning flame together, 

As he rode down to Camclot. 

' Tirra-lirra ! It's deuced hot,' 

Sang Sir Launcelot. 

— That's what I call real poetry, Jerry. I say, I met Tennyson 
once at my old governor's. He didn't jaw much. I thought 
him rather a good chap. You've got three pules of it across 
those blazing marshes. I'll take odds you don't do it in thirty- 
tive minutes — walking, of course, heel and toe." 

" Bother ! " replied Jerry, and, snatching his hat from its 
peg, laid his hand on the open window-sill, vaulted through, and 
was gone. 

Dolly returned to his problem, shaking his head with con- 
liderable gravity. 

" Now, that young chap will come to grief," he soliloquised. 

is The White Rose. 

'' He wants looking after, and who's to look after him ? If it 
was Dandy Burton I shouldn't so much mind. The Dandy can 
take precious good care of himself. What he likes is -o 'get up ' 
awful, and be admired. Wouldn't he just — 

Stand at his diamond-door, 
With his rainbow-frill unfurled, 
And swear if he was uncurled ? 

Now Jerry's different. Jerry's a good sort, and I don't want to 
see the young beggar go a mucker for want of a little atten- 
tion. Grits is a sensible chap enough — I never knew a miller 
that wasn't. I'll just drop easily down the lane and talk it 
over with Grits." 

In pursuance of which discreet resolution, Dolly — who, 
although actually the junior, believed himself in wisdom and 
general experience many years older than his friend — sauntered 
out into the sunshine with such deliberation that ere he had gone 
a hundred yards, the other, speeding along as if he trod on air, 
was already more than half through his journey. 

And he was treading on air. The long, level marshes through 
which he passed, with their straight banks, their glistening 
ditches, their wet, luxuriant herbage and hideous pollard willows, 
would have seemed to you or me but a flat uninteresting land- 
ficape, to be tolerated only for the stock it could carry, and the 
remunerative interest it paid on the capital sunk in drainage per 
acre 5 but to Gerard Ainslie it was simply fairy-land — the 
fairy-land through which most of us pass, if only for a few 
paces, at some period of our lives. Few enter it more than 
once, for we remember when we emerged how cold it was out- 
side ; we shudder when we think of the bleak wind that 
buffeted our bodies and chilled our quivering hearts : we have 
not forgotten how long it took to harden us for our bleak 
native atmosphere, and we dare not risk so sad a change again ! 

The marshes, whether fairy-land or pasture, soon disappeared 
beneath Gerard's light and active footfall. What is a mere 
league of distance to a well-made lad of nineteen — a runner, 
a leaper, a cricketer — tolerably in condition, and, above all, very 
much in love ? He was soon in a wooded district, amongst deep 
lanes, winding footpaths, thick hedges, frequent stiles, and a 
profusion of wild flowers He threaded his way as if he 
knew it well. Presently the colour faded from his cheek and 
his heart began to beat, for he had reached a wicket-gate in a 
high, mouldering, ivy-grown wall, and beyond it he knew was 

Norak. 13 

a smooth-shaven lawn, a spreading cypress, a wealth of roses, 
and the prettiest parsonage within four counties. He had learnt 
"he trick of the gate, and had opened it often enough, yet he 
paused for a moment outside. Although he had walked his 
three miles pretty fast, he had been perfectly cool hitherto, but 
now he drew his handkerchief across his face, while with white 
parched lips and trembling fingers, he turned the handle of the 
wicket and passed through. 



The lawn, tbe cedar, the roses, there they were exactly as he 
had pictured them to himself last night in his dreams, that 
morning when he awoke, the whole forenoon in the dreary study, 
through those eternal equations. Nothing was wanting, not even 
the low chair, the slender work-table, nor the presence that made 
a paradise of it all. 

She was sitting in a white dress beneath the drooping lime- 
tree that gleamed and quivered in the sunbeams, alive with its 
hum of insects, heavy in its wealth of summer fragrance, and 
raining its shower of blossoms with every breath that whispered 
through its leaves. For many a year after, perhaps his whole 
life long, he never forgot her as she sat before him then ; never 
forgot the gold on her rich chestnut hair, the light in her deep 
fond eyes, nor the tremble of happiness in her voice, while 
the exclaimed, " Gerard ! And again to-day ! How did you 
manage to come over ? It is so late, I had almost given you 
up ! 

She had half-risen, as if her impulse was to rush towards him, 
but sat down again, and resumed her work with tolerable 
composure, though parted lips and flushing cheek betrayed only 
too clearly how welcome was this intrusion on her solitude. 

He was little more than nineteen, and he loved her very 
dearly. He could find nothing better to say than this : " I only 
wanted to bring you some music. The others are engaged, and I 
had really nothing else to do. How is Mr. Welby ? " 

" Papa was quite well," she answered demurely enough, " and 
very busy as usual at this hour, in his own den. Should she let 

1± The White Rose. 

him know," — and there was a gleam of mirth n her eye, a sus« 
picion of malice in her tone, — " should she run and tell him Mr. 
Ainslie was here? " 

" By no means," answered Gerard, needlessly alarmed at such 
a suggestion j "I would not disturb him on any consideration. 
And, Norah ! — you said I might call you Norah at the Archery 

" Did I ?" replied the young lady, looking exceedingly pretty 
and provoking ; " I can't have meant it if I did." 

" Oh, Norah ! " he interposed, reproachfully, " you don't mean 
to say you've forgotten !" 

" I haven't forgotten that you were ey.tremely cross, and ate 
no luncheon, and behaved very badly," she answered, laughing. 
"Never mind, Gerard, we made friends coming home, didn't 
we ? And if I said you might, I suppose you must. Now you 
look all right again, so don't be a rude boy, but tell me honestly 
if you walked all this way in the sun only because you had 
nothing better to do ?" 

His eyes glistened. "You know why I come here," he said. 
" You know why I would walk a thousand miles barefoot to see 
you for five minutes. Now I shall be contented all to-day and 
to-morrow, and then next morning I shall begin to get restless 
and anxious, and if I can, I shall come here again." 

" You dear fidget ! " she answered, with a bright smile. "I 
know I can believe you, and it makes me very happy. Now 
hold these silks while I wind them ; and after that, if you do it 
well, I'll give you some tea; and then you shall see papa, who 
is really very fond of you, before you go back." 

So the two sat down — in fairy-laud — under the lime-tree, to 
wind silks — a process requiring little physical exertion, and no 
great effort of mind. It seemed to engross their whole energies 
nevertheless, and to involve a good deal of conversation, carried 
on in a very low tone. I can guess almost all they said, but 
should not repeat such arrant nonsense, eves had I overheard 
every syllable. It was only that old story, I suppose, the oldest 
of all, but to which people never get tired of listening ; and the 
sameness of which in every language, and under all circum- 
stances, is as remarkable as its utter want of argument, continuity, 
or common sense. 

Gerard Ainslie and Miss Welby had now known each other 
for about six months, a sufficiently long period to allow of very 
destructive campaigns both in love and war. They had fallen in 
love, as people call it, very soon after their first introduction ; 

Norah 1.5 

that is to say, they had thought about each other a good deal, 
met often enough to keep up a vivid recollection of mutual 
sayings and doings, yet with sufficient uncertainty to create 
constant excitement, none the less keen for frequent disappoint- 
ments; and, in short, had gone through the usual probation by 
which that accident of an accident, an unwise attachment be- 
tween two individuals, becomes strengthened in exact proportion 
to its hopelessness, its inconvenience, and the undoubted absurdity 
that it should exist at all. 

People said Mr. Welby encouraged it ; whereas poor Mr. 
VVelby, who would have esteemed the prince in a fairy tale 
not half good enough for his daughter, was simply pleased to 
think that she should have companions of her own age, male or 
female, who could bring a brighter lustre to her eye, a softer 
bloom to her cheek. It never occurred to him for a moment 
that his Norah, his own peculiar pride and pet and constant 
companion since he lost her mother at four years old, should 
dream of caring for anybody but himself, at least for many a 
long day to come. If he did contemplate such a possibility, it 
was with a vague, misty idea that in some ten years or so, when 
he was ready to drop into his grave, some great nobleman would 
lay a heart, and a coronet to match, at his child's feet, and under 
the circumstances such an arrangement would be exceedingly 
suitable for all concerned. But that Norah, his Norah, shou.d 
allow her affections to be entangled by young Gerard Ainslie, 
though a prime favourite of 1 is own, why I do not believe such 
a contingency could have been placed before him in any light 
that could have caused him to admit the remotest chance of its 

Nevertheless, while Mr. Welby was making bad English of 
excellent Greek, under the impression that he was rendering the 
exac' meaning of Euripides for the benefit of unlearned men, 
his daughter and her young adorer were enacting the old comedy, 
tragedy, farce, or pantomime — for it partakes of the nature of 
all these entertainments— on their own little stage, with scenery, 
dresses, and decorations to correspond. Ah ! we talk of elo- 
quence, expression, fine writing forsooth ! and the trick of word- 
painting, as very a trick as any other turn of the handicraftsman's 
trade : but who ever read in a whole page of print one-half 
the poetry condensed into two lines of a w oman's manuscript ? — ■ 
ungrammatical, if you please, ill expressed, and with long tails 
to the letters, yet breathing in every syllable that sentiment oi 
idealitv which has made the whole ornamental literature of the 

16 The White Rose. 

world. After all, the head only reproduces what the heart creates 5 
and so we give the mocking-bird credit when he imitates the 
loving murmurs of the dove. 

If oratory should be judged by its effect, then must Norah 
Welby and Gerard Ainslie have been speakers of the highest 
calibre. To be sure, they had already practised in a good many 
rehearsals, and ought to have been pretty well up in their parts. 

The simultaneous start with which they increased their distance 
by at least a fathom, on hearing the door-bell jingling all over 
the house, would have ensured a round of applause from any 
audience in Europe. 

"How provoking!" exclaimed the girl; "and people so 
seldom come here on a Tuesday. Perhaps, after all, it's only 
somebody for papa." 

Gerard said nothing, but his colour deepened, and a frown oi 
very obvious annoyance lowered on his brow. It did not clear 
the more to observe an open carriage, with a pair of good-looking 
horses, driven round to the stables. As paint and varnish glis- 
tened in the sunshine through the laurels, Miss Welby drew a 
long sigh of relief. 

" It might have been worse," she said ; "it might have been 
the Warings, all of them, with their aunt, or that dreadful Lady 
Baker, or Mrs. Brown ; but it's only Mr. Vandeleur, and he 
won't stay long. Besides, he's always pleasant and good-natured, 
and never says the wri rig thing. We won't have tea though till 
he's gone.*' 

"It seems to me, Norab," answered her visitor, " that you 
rather like Mr. Vandeleur." 

"Like him ! I should think I did !" protested the young lady; 
" but you needn't look so fierce about it, Master Jerry. I like 
him because papa does; he's always in better spirits after a visit 
from Mr. Vandeleur. Besides, he's immensely clever you know, 
and well-read, and all that. Papa says he might be in the 
Government if he chose to go into Parliament. Not that I care 
about clever people myself; I think it's much nicer to be like 
you, Jerry, you stupid boy ! I don't think you'll ever pass your 
examination — and so much the better, for then you won't have 
to go away, and leave us all, and — and forget us." 

" Forget you!" replied Gerard, decreasing by one half the 
distance he had taken up from his companion. What more he 
might have said was cut short by the appearance of a gentleman 
whose step had been unheard on the thick velvet turf, and who 
uow came forward to greet his hostess, with an admirable rru$- 

Norah. 1 7 

ture of the deference due to a young lady, and the cordiality 
permitted from an old friend. 

" I came through the garden on purpose to say how d'ye do," 
he observed, with marked politeness, " but my visit is really to 
your father. I hope he is not too busy to see me for half an hour. 
In fact, I believe he expected me either to-day or to-morrow." 
Then, turning to Gerard, he shook him warmly by the hand, 
and congratulated him on the score he had made a few days 
before in a cricket match. 

Norah was right. Mr. Vandeleur was not a man to say the 
wrong thing, even under the most unfavourable circumstances. 
Those who knew him best affirmed that he was not to be hur. 
ried, nor taken aback, nor found at a loss. He would have been 
exceedingly popular, but that never for more than a few seconds 
could he look anybody in the face. 

His eyes shifted uneasily from Gerard's even now. The latter 
did not like him, and though he answered civilly, was too young 
to conceal his aversion ; but Vandeleur, with all the advantage 
of position, manner, and experience, still more of the man over 
the boy, and, above all, of the careless admirer over the devoted 
slave, felt too safe not to be in good humour, and put in even 
for Gerard's approval by the tact with which he veiled his con- 
sciousness of intrusion, while he announced his intention to 

"I see you have both more work to do," he observed, gaily 
pointing to a skein of silk that still hung over the back of Norah's 
chair, for in truth the operation had been going on very slowly, 
" and I have, as usual, a thousand things to attend to between 
this and dinner. Miss Welby, do you think I might venture 
to invade your father at once in his study ? If you are not 
gone in half an hour, Ainslie, I can give you a lift most of the 
way back. I should like you to get your hand on those chest- 
nuts of mine. The white-legged one is the only perfect phaeton- 
horse I ever had in my life. I will come and make my bow to 
Miss Welby before I start." 

" Isn't he nice ?" exclaimed Norah, as the visitor disappeared 
under the low ivy-grown porch of the Parsonage. " He always 
seems to do exactly what you want without finding you out. 
And if you re tired or stupid, or don't like to talk, he'll neither 
bore you himself nor let other people worry you. Isn't he nice, 
I say? Master Jerry, why can't you answer? Don't you know 
that I will insist on your liking everybody I like ?" 

" I cannot like Mr. Vandeleur," answered Gerard ; doggedly, 

j 8 The White Rose. 

for not even the compliment implied in asking his opinion of the 
phaeton-horses — a compliment generally so acceptable at nine- 
teen — had overcome his distaste to this gentleman. "I never 
did like him, and I never shall like him. And I think I hate 
him all the more, Norah, because — because " 

" Eecausa what?" asked Miss Norah, pettishly j" because 1 
like him !" 

" Because 1 think he likes you," answered Gerard, with a very 
red face j adding somewhat injudiciously, " It's absurd, it's ridi- 
culous! An old man like that !" 

" He's not so very old," observed the young lady, maliciously j 
"and he's tolerably good-looking still." 

" He s a widower, at any rate," urged Gerard ; " and they say 
he regularly killed his first wife." 

" So did Bluebeard," replied wicked Miss Norah ; " and look 
how people made up to him afterwards ! Do you know, I don't 
see why Mr. Vandeleur shouldn't settle down into a very good 
husband for anybody." 

Gerard had been red before : he turned pale now. 

" Do you really mean that ?" he asked in tones rather lowei 
and more distinct than common. 

" For anybody of his own age, of course," answered the pro- 
voking girl. " Not for a young lady, you know. Why, he must 
be very nearly as old as papa. I wish he d come to say ' Good- 
bye ' all the sawe, though he must take you with him. Poor 
boy! you'll never get back in time, and you'll be so hot if you 
have to run all the way." 

Even while she spoke, a servant came out of the Parsonage 
with a message. It was to give " Mr. Vandeleur's compliments, 
and one of his horses had lost a shoe. He feared to make Mr. 
Ainslie too late, if he waited till it was put on." 

" And you've never had your tea after all!" exclaimed Norah, 
about to recall the servant and order that beverage forthwith. 

But Ainslie did not want any tea, and could not stay for it if 
he had wanted some. Even his light foot could hardly be ex 
pected to do the three miles much under twenty-five minutes, 
and he must be off at once. He hated going, and she hated 
parting with him. Probably they told each other so, for the was already out of hearing, and his back was turned. 

We may follow the servant's example. We have no wish to 
be spies on the leave-taking of two young lovers at nineteen. 

Mr. Vandeleur. 19 



I have not the slightest doubt the chestnut horse's slice was o/F 
when he arrived, and that his owner was perfectly aware of the 

oss while so politely offering Gerard Amslie a lift back in his 
carriage, but Mr. Vandeleur was a gentleman untroubled by 
scruples, either in small things or great. His principle, if he 
had any, waj never to practise insincerity unless it was necessary, 
or at least extremely convenient, except where women were 
concerned ; in such cases he considered deceit not only essential 
but praiseworthy. As a young man, Vandeleur had been a pro- 
fligate, when open profligacy was more the fashion than at 
present ; while good looks, a good constitution, and a good 
fortune, helped him to play his part successfully enough on the 
stage of life, in London or Pans, as the pleasant, popular good- 
for-nothing, who in spite of his extravagance was never out-at- 
elbows, in spite of his excesses was never out of spirits or out of 
humour. With a comely exterior, a healthy digestion, and a 
balance at his bankers, a man requires but few sterling qualities 
to make his way in a society that troubles itself very little about 
its neighbours so long as they render themselves agreeable, in a 
world that while not entirely adverse to being shocked, is chiefly 
intolerant of being bored. 

Some of those who ministered to Ins pleasures might indeed 
have told strange stories about Vandeleur, and one violent scene 
in Paris was oi>ly hushed up by the tact of an exalted foreign 
friend and the complicity of a sergent dt> ville ; but such trifling 
matters were below the surface, and in no way affected his 
popularity, particularly amongst the ladies, with whom a little 
mystery goes a long way, and 11110 whose good graces the best 
initiative step is to awaken a curiosity, that seldom fails to chafe 
itself into interest if left for a time ungratified. It can only 
have been some morbid desire to learn more of him at all 
risks, that tempted the daughter of a ducal house to trust her 
life's happiness in so frail a bark as that of Vandeleur. " Lady 
Margaret must be a bold girl ! " was the general opinion ex- 
pressed at White's, Boodle s, and Arthur's, in the boudoirs of 
Belgravia, and the dining-rooms of Mayfair, when her marriage 
was announced, and it was observed that the bridegroom's inti- 
mate friends were those who showed most disapprobation of I he 

%o Th» White Roir. 

alliance, and who chiefly commiserated the bridt Vevertheless. 
bold or blushing, Lady Margaret married him amorously, at- 
tended the wedding-breakfast afterwards, and eventually drove 
off in a very becoming lilac travelling-dress to spend the honey- 
moon at Oakover, her husband's old family place. But she never 
came back to London. For two years husband and wife disap- 
peared entirely from the set m which they had hitherto lived, 
regretted loudly, missed but little, as is the way of the world. 
They travelled a good deal, they vegetated at their country place, 
but at home or abroad never seemed to be an hour apart. 

Some people said she was jealous, frightfully jealous, and 
would not let him oat of her sight ; some that they were a most 
attached couple 5 some that Lady Margaret's health had grown 
very precarious, and she required constant attention. Her own 
family shook their heads and agreed, "Margaret was much 
altered since her marriage, and seemed so wrapped up in her 
husband that she had quite forgotten her own relations. As for 
him — Well, they didn't know what she had done to hinijbut he 
certainly used to be much pleasanter as a bachelor !" 

Lady Margaret had no children, yet she lost her looks day by 
day. At the end of two years the blinds were down at Oakover, 
and its mistress was lying dead in the bedroom that had been 
decorated so beautifully to receive her as a bride. The sun rose 
and set more than once before Vandeleur could be persuaded to 
leave her body. A belated housemaid, creeping upstairs to bed, 
frightened out of her wits at any rate by the bare idea of a death 
in the house, heard his laughter ringing wild and shrill in that 
desolate chamber at the end of the corridor. Long afterwards, 
in her next place, the poor girl would wake up in the night, 
terrified by the memory of that fearful mirth, which haunted 
even her dreams. On the day of Lady Margaret's funeral, how- 
ever, the mourners were surprised to see how bravely her husband 
bore his loss. In a few weeks the same people declared them- 
selves shocked to hear that Mr. Vandeleur went about much as 
usual , in a few months, were surprised to learn he had retired 
from the world and gone into a monastery. 

The monastery turned out to be simply a yacht of considerable 
tonnage. For two years Vandeleur absented himself from Eng- 
land, and of that two years he either would not, or could not, 
give any account. When he returned, the ladies would have 
made him a second Lara, had he shown the least tendency to the 
mysterious and romantic 5 but he turned up one morning in 
Hyde Park as if nothing h^H happened, paid his penny for a chair. 

Mr. Vandeleur. fti 

lit his cigar, took his hat off to the smartest ladies with his old 
manner, went to the Opera, and in twenty-four hours was as 
thoroughly re-established in London as if he had never married, 
and never left it. 

He was still rather good-looking, but affected a style of dress 
and deportment belonging to a more advanced period of life 
than he had attained. His hair and whiskers were grizzled, in- 
deed, and theie were undoubted wrinkles about his keen restless 
eyes, as on his healthy, weather-browned cheek ; yet none of the 
ladies voted him too old to marry ; they even protested he was 
not too old to dance; and I believe that at no period of his life 
would Vandeleur have had a better chance of winning a nice 
wife than in the first season after his return from his mysterious 

He did not seem the least inclined to take advantage of his 
luck. While at Oakover, indeed, he busied himself to a certain 
extent with a country gentleman's duties and amusements — 
attended magistrates' meetings at rare intervals, asked a houseful 
of neighbours to shoot, dine, and sleep, two or three times during 
the winter ; was present at one archery meeting in October, and 
expressed an intention he did not fulfil, of going to the County 
Ball ; but in London he appeared to relapse insensibly into his 
bachelor ways and bachelor life, so that the Vandeleur of forty 
was, 1 fear, little more useful or respectable a member of society 
than the Vandeleur of twenty-five. 

A few years of such a life, and the proprietor of Oakover 
seemed to have settled down into a regular groove of refined self- 
indulgence. The tongue of scandal wags so freely when it has 
once been set going, that no wonder it soon tires itself out, and 
a man who pays lavishly for his pleasures finds it a long time 
betore tney rise up in judgment against him. Even in a country 
neighbourhood it is possible to establish a prescriptive right for 
doing wrong ; and while the domestic arrangements at Oakover 
itself were conducted with the utmost decorum and propriety, 
people soon ceased to trouble themselves about its master's doing? 
when out of his own house. 

For an idle man Vandeleur was no mean scholar. The sixth 
form at Eton, and a good degree at Oxford, had not cured him 
of a taste for classic literature, and he certainly did derive a pleasure 
from his visits to Mr. Welby's Parsonage, which had nothing to 
do with the bright eyes of the clergyman's daughter. 

Host and guest had much in common. Wei by himself, before 
be entered the Church — of which it is but fair to say he was a 

sa The White host. 

conscientious minister — had been farmiiar, so to speak, with thfl 
ranks of the Opposition. Even now he looked back to the 
brilliancy of tnat pleasant, wicked world, as the crew of Ulysses 
may have recalled the wild delights of their enchanted island. 
False they were, no doubt — lawless, injurious, debasing ; yet 
tinged, they felt too keenly, with an unearthly gleam of joy 
from heaven or hell. They are thankful to have escaped, yet 
would they not forego the strange experience if they could. 

Miss Welby was right when she said her father always seemed 
ir> better spirits after a visit from Mr. Vandeleur; perhaps that 
was why she received the latter so graciously when, emerging 
from the study, he crossed the lawn to take leave of her some 
twenty minutes after Gerard Ainslie s departure. 

He ought to have been no bad judge, and he thought he had 
never seen a woman look so well. Happiness is a r;<re cosmetic ; 
and though, as many a man had reason to admit, sorrow in 
after years refined, idealised, and gave a more elevated character 
to her b j auty, I doubt if Norah was ever more captivating to 
Vandeleur than on that bright summer's afternoon under the 

She was thinking of Gerard, as a woman thinks of her idol 
for the time. That period may be a lifetime, or it may last 
only for a year or two, or for a few months. I have even heard 
three weeks specified as its most convenient duration ; but long 
or short, no doubt the worship is sincere and engrossing while 
it exists. The little flutter, the subdued agitation created by the 
presence of her lover, had vanished, but the feeling of intense 
happiness, the sense of complete dependence and repose, steeped 
her in an atmosphere of security and contentment that seemed 
to glorify her whole being, and to enhance even the physical 
superiority of her charms. She felt so thankful, so joyful, so 
capable of everything that was noble or good, so completely in 
charity with all the world ! No wonder she greeted her father's 
friend with a cordial manner and a bright smile. 

" Your carriage has not come round yet, Mr. Vandeleur," she 
said, " and they will bring tea in five minutes. Papa generally 
comes out and has a cup with us here. You at least are not 
obliged to hurry away," she added rather wistfully, glancing at 
the chair which Gerard had lately occupied. 

His eye followed hers. " I am glad I am too old for a private 
tutor," he answered with a meaning smile. "That s a very nice 
boy, Miss Welby, that young Mr. Ainsliej and how sorry he 
seemed to go away." 

Mr. Vandeleur. 2j 

She blushed. It was embarrassing to talk about Gerard, but 

Still it was not unpleasant. 

We all like nim very much," she said, guardedly, meaning 
p-obably by "all," herself, her papa, and her bullfinch, which 
comprised the family. 

" A nice gentleman-like boy," continued Mr. Vandeleur ; 
"well-disposed, too, I can see. When I was his age, Miss 
Welby, 1 don't think I should have been so amenable to disci- 
pline under the same temptation. I fancy my tutor might 
have whisrled for me, if I wanted to be late for dinner. Ah ! 
we were wilder in my time, and most of us have turned out 
badly in consequence} but I like this lad, I assure you, very 
much. None the less that he seems so devoted to you. Have 
you known him long ?" 

Luckily the tea had just arrived, and Norah could bend her 
blushing face over the cups. 

Had she known Gerard long? Well, it seemed so; and yet 
the time had passed only too quickly. She had known him 
scarcely six months. Was that a long or a short acquaintance 
in which to have become so fond of him ? 

With faltering voice she replied, " Yes — no — not very long-— 
ever since last winter, when he came to Mr. Archer's?" 

" Who is he ? and what is he ? " continued Vandeleur, sipping 
his tea calmly. " Do they mean him for a soldier ? Will my 
friend Archer make anything of him? Don't you pity poor 
Archer, Miss Welby ? A scholar, a gentleman, a fellow who 
has seen some service, and might have distinguished himself if 
he had stuck to the army. And now he is condemned to spend 
seven hours a day in licking cubs into shape for inspection by the 
Horse Guards." 

" There are no cubs ihere this year," she answered with some 
spirit. " Mr. Burton and Mr. Egremont, and the rest, are very 
gentleman-like, pleasant young men, and just as clever as any- 


body el 

" That is not saying much," he replied, with perfect good 
humour; "but when I talk of 'cubs' I declare to you I don't 
mean your friend and mine, Mr. Ainslie. 1 tell you I have 
taken a great fancy to the boy, and would do him a turn if 
I could. I suppose he would like to get his commission at 
once ? '' 

Even at nineteen she was yet woman enough to have studied 
Vi* future welfare; and his "getting his commission " was the 
^nJint to which she had k> often looked forward with dismay as 


44 "Ike Ifhite Rose. 

the termination of their happiness — it might be, something 
whispered to her ominously, even of their friendship. Never- 
theless, she knew it would be for his advantage to enter the 
army at once. She knew he was wasting his time here, in 
nothing perhaps more than in his oft-repeated visits to herself 
Her heart sank when she thought of the lawn, and the cedar, and 
the lime-trees, without those visits to look back on, and look 
forward to, but she answered bravely, though her face turned 
very pale — 

" Certainly ! It would be of great importance to Mr. Ainslie, 
I believe ; and I am sure he would be grateful to anybody who 
could help him to it." 

She would have added, " And so should I," but a sensation as 
:f she were choking stopped her short. 

" If you are interested about him, that is enough," replied 
Vandeleur. " I will try what can be done, and small as is my 
interest, it ought to be sufficient to carry out so very common- 
place a job as this. In the meantime what a hot walk the poor 
boy will have ! I wish he could have waited. I would have 
driven him to Archer's door. It's a good thing to be young, 
Miss Welby, but no doubt there are certain disadvantages con- 
nected with a prosperity that is still to come. In ten years that 
young gentleman will be a rising man, I venture to predict. In 
twenty a successful one, with a position and a name in the 
world. Twenty years ! It's a long time, isn't it ? I shall be 
in my grave, and you — why even you will have left off being a 
young lady then." 

She was thinking the same herself. Would it really be twenty 
years before poor Gerard could reach the lowest round of that 
ladder on which she longed to see him ? Mr. Vandeleur had 
great experience, he must know best, he was a thorough man of 
the world. What an unfair world it was. Poor Gerard ! 

She sighed, and raising her eyes to her companion's face, who 
instantly looked away, was conscious he had read her thoughts : 
this added to her discomposure, and for the moment she felt as 
if she could cry. Vandeleur knew every turn of the game he 
was playing, and saw that for the present he had better enact any 
part than that of confidant. Later, perhaps, when Gerard was 
gone, and the blank required filling up, it might be judicious to 
assume that, or any other character, which would give him 
access to her society ; but at the present stage, disinterested 
friendship was obviously the card to play, and he produced it 
without hesitation. 

The Maid of the Mill. 1$ 

" Then that is settled ? " he said gaily. " I'll do what I can, 
«nd if I don't succeed you may be sure it's not for want of good- 
will to you and yours. I'm an old friend, you know, Miss 
Welby — if not of your own, at least of your father's ; and 
believe me, it would be a great pleasure to serve you in any- 
thing. Anything ! — a caprice, a fancy, what you will. Black 
or white, right or wrong, easy or difficult — or impossible. That's 
plain speaking, isn't it ? I don't do things by halves ! And 
now I must really be ofF; those horses of mine have pawed a 
regular pit in your gravel-walk, and half-a-dozen country neigh- 
bours are waiting dinner for me at this moment, I do believe. 
Good-bye, Miss Welby ; keep your spirits up, and let me come 
and see you again when I've some good news to tell." 

Still talking, he hurried away, and drove off at a gallop, 
waving his whip cheerfully above the laurels as he passed within 
sight of the lawn. Norah thought she had never liked him so 
much as when the grating of his wheels died out in the stillness 
of the summer evening, and she was left alone with her own 



Mr. Vandeleur always drove fast. He liked to know that the 
poor countryman breaking stones on the road, or laying the 
fence by its side, looked after him as he flashed by, with stolid 
admiration on his dull face, and muttered, " Ah ! there goos 
Squire Vandeleur, surelie ! " On the present occasion his pace 
was even better than common, and the chestnuts laid themselves 
down to their work in a form that showed the two hundred 
guineas a-piece he had paid for them was not a shilling too 
much. He pulled them back on their haunches, however, at a 
turn in the road, with a sudden energy that jerked his groom's 
chin against the rail of the driving-seat, and stopped his carriage 
within three feet of a showily-dressed young woman, who was 
gathering wild-flowers off the hedge with a transparent alfectation 
of unconsciousness that she was observed. 

" Why, Fanny," said he, leaning out of the carriage to look 
under her bonnet, " Fanny Draper, I thought yoa were in 
London, or Paris, at least ; — or gone to the devil before yout 
time," he added, in an undertone, between his teeth. 

16 The If lute Rose. 

The lad? thus accosted put her hand to her side with a 
faint catching of the breath, as of one in weak health, whose 
nerves are unequal to a shock. She glanced up at him from 
under her eye-lashes roguishly enough, however, while she 
replied — 

" My ! If it isn't Squire Vandeleur ! I'm sure I neve) 
thought as you'd be the first person to m^et me at my home- 
coming, and that's the truth." Here she dumped a saucy little 
curtsey. " I hope you've kept your health, sir, since I see you 
last ! " 

" Much you care for that, you little devil ! " replied Vandeleur, 
with a familiar laugh. " My health is pretty good for an old 
one, and you look as handsome and as wicked as you ever did. 
So we needn't pay each other any more unmeaning compliments. 
Here ! I've got something to say to you. Jump up, and I'll give 
you a lift home to the mill." 

The girl's eyes sparkled, but she looked meaningly towards 
the groom at the horses' heads, and back in his master's face. 

" Oh, never mind him ! " exclaimed the latter, understanding 
the glance. " If my servants don't attend to their own busi- 
ness, at least they never trouble themselves about mine. Jump 
up, I tell you, and don't keep that off-horse fretting all night." 

She still demurred, though with an obvious intention of yield- 
ing at last. 

" Suppose we should meet any of the neighbours, Mr. Vande- 
leur, or some of the gem lefolks coming home from the archery. 
Why, whatever would they think of you and me ? " 

" Please yourself," he answered, "arelessly. " Only it's a long 
two miles to the mill, and I suppose you don't want to wear 
those pretty little boots out faster than you can help. Come! 
that's a good girl. I thought you would. Sit tight now 
Never mind your dress. I'll tuck it in under the apron. Let 
em alone, Tom ! And off she goes aga.n ! " 

While he spoke, he stretched out his hand and. helped her into 
the front seat by his side, taking especial care of the gaudy mus- 
lin skirt she wore. One word of encouragement was enough 
to make his horses dash freely at their collars, the groom jumped 
into his place like a harlequin, and the phaeton was again bowl- 
ing through the still summer evening at the rate of twelve miles 
an hour. 

When a tolerably popular person has earned a reputation for 
eccentricity, there is no end to the strange things he may d& 
without provoking the censure, or even the comments, of hit 

The Maid of the Mill. 27 

neighbours. Even had it not been the hour at which most of 
them were dressing for dinner, there was little likelihood that 
Vandeleur would meet any of his friends in the lonely road that 
skirted his property, ere it brought him to the confines of his 
park ; but it is probable that even the most censorious, observing 
him driving a smartly-dressed person of the other sex in a lower 
grade of society than his own, would have made no more dis- 
paraging remark than that " Vandeleur was such a queer fellow, 
you never knew exactly what he was at !" He drove on, there- 
fore, in perfect confidence, conversing very earnestly with his 
companion, though in such low tones that Toms sharp ears in 
the back seat could scarcely make out a syllable he said. She 
listened attentively enough ; more so, perhaps, than he had any 
right to expect, considering that her thoughts were distracted by 
the enviable situation in which she found herself, — driving in a 
real phaeton, by the side of a real gentleman, with a real servant 
in livery behind. 

Fanny Draper had occupied from her youth a position little 
calculated to improve either her good conduct or her good sense 
She had been a village beauty almost as long as she could re- 
member — ever since the time when she first began to do up her 
back-hair with a comb. The boys who sung in the choir made 
love to her when she went to the Sunday-school; the young 
farmers paid her devoted attention and quarrelled about her 
among themselves, the first day she ever attended a merry- 
making. She might have married a master-bricklayer at 
eighteen ; and by the time she went out to service, was as 
finished a coquette in her own way as if she had been a French 
Marquise at the Court of Louis Quatorze. 

Of course, to use the master-bricklayer's expression, such a 
"choice piece of goods " as the miller's daughter was above doing 
rough work, and the only situation she could think of taking 
was that of a lady s-maid ; equally of course, she did not keep 
her first place three months, but returned to her father's mill 
before the expiration of that period, with rings on her fingers, 
a large stock of new clothes, and a considerable accession of self- 
esteem. Also, it is needless to add, like all lady's-maids ; under 
a solemn engagement to be married to a butler ! 

Poor old Draper didn't know exactly what to make of her. 
He had two sons doing well in his own business at the other 
end of England. He was a widower, Fanny was his only 
daughter, and the happiest day in 'he y t i> r to him was the one 
when she came home. Nevertheless, what with her watch, her 

28 The White Rote. 

rings, lier white hands, her flowing dresses, and the number ol 
followers she managed to collect about her even at the mill, the 
old man felt that she was too much for him, and that while she 
lived in it, the house never looked like his own. He admired 
her very much. He loved her very dearly. He seldom contra- 
dicted her ; but he always smoked an extra pipe the night she 
went away, and yet he dreaded the time when she should make 
a sensible marriage (perhaps with the butler), and be " off his 
hands," as he expressed it, " for good and all." 

Ripley Mill was but a little way from Oakover. It is not 
to be supposed that so comely a young woman as the miller's 
daughter escaped Mr. Vandeleur's observation. She took good 
care to throw herself in his way on every possible occasion, and 
the Squire, as her father called him, treated her with that sort 
of good-humoured, condescending, offensive familiarity, which, 
men seem to forget, is the worst possible compliment to any 
woman high or low. That Miss Draper's vanity ever led her to 
believe that she could captivate the Squire is more than I will 
take upon me to assert, but no doubt it was flattered by the 
trifling attentions he sometimes paid her; and she had been 
heard to observe more than once amongst her intimates, that 
" the Squire was quite the gentleman, and let alone his appear- 
ance, which was neither here nor there, his manners would 
always make him a prime favourite with the ladies," invariably 
adding that, " for her part, the Squire knew his place, and she 
knew hers." 

The pace at which Vandeleur drove soon brought them to a 
certain stile, over which Miss Fanny had leant many a time in 
prolonged interviews with different rustic lovers, and which was 
removed but by one narrow orchard from her father's mill. 
Short as was the time, however, the driver seemed to have made 
the most of it, for his companion s face looked flushed and 
agitated when she got down. A perceptible shade of disappoint- 
ment, and even vexation, clouded her brow, while the voice in 
which she bade him " Good evening," betrayed a certain amount 
of pique and ill-humour bravely kept under. Vandeleur's tone, 
on the contrary, was confident and cheerful as usual. 

" It's a bargain then," said he, releasing her hand, as she sprang 
on the foot-path from the top of the front wheel. " I can 
depend upon you, can't I ? to do your best or worst ; and your 
worst with that pretty face of yours would tackle a much more 
difficult job than this. Honour, Miss Fanny ! If you'll keep 
your word, you know I'll keep mine." 

The Maid of the Mill. "9 

" Honour, Squire," replied she, with a forced smile that 
marred the comeliness of all the lower part of her face. " But 
you re in a desperate hurry ! A week isn't much time, now, is 
it ? to finish a young gentleman right off." 

" Those bright eyes of yours finished an old gentleman right 
off in a day," answered Vandeleur, laughing. " Good night, my 
dear, and stick to your bargain." 

Before she was over the stile, his phaeton had turned a corner 
in the lane, and was out of sight. 

Miss Draper took her bonnet off, and dangled it by the strings 
while the cool evening air breathed on her forehead and lifted 
her jetty locks. She was a pretty girl, no doubt, of a style by 
no means uncommon in her class. Dark eyes, high colour, 
irregular features, with a good deal of play in them, a large 
laughing mouth, and a capital set of teeth, made up a face that 
people turned round to look at in market-places, or on high-roads, 
and her figure, as she herself boasted, required " no making up, 
with as little dressing as most people's, provided only her things 
was good of their kind." Yes, she was a handsome girl, and 
though her vanity had received a considerable shock, she did not 
doubt it even now. 

After a few seconds' thought, her irritation seemed to sub- 
side. Circumstances had for some years forced Miss Draper's 
mind to take a practical turn. Flattered vanity was a pleasing 
sensation, she admitted, but tangible advantage was the thing 
after all. 

" Now whatever can the Squire be driving at?" soliloquised 
his late companion, as threading the apple-trees she came within 
hearing of the familiar mill. " There's something behind all 
this, and I'll be at the back of it as sure as my name's Fanny ! 
He's a deep un, is the Squire, but he's a gentleman, I will say 
that ! Quite the gentleman, he is ! Ten pounds down. Let 
me see, that will pay for the two bonnets, and as much as I ever 
will pay of Mrs. Markham s bill. And twenty more if it all 
comes off right, within a month. Twenty pounds is a good 
deal of money ! Yes, I always did uphold as the Squire were 
quite the gentleman." 

She arrived simultaneously with this happy conclusion at the 
Joor of her paternal home, and the welcome of her father's 
professionally dusty embrace. 

Vandeleur was not long in reaching Oakover, and commencing 
his toilet, which progressed rapidly, like everything else he did, 
without his appearing to hurry it. At a sufficiently advanced 

3© Trie White lime, 

stage he ratg for his valet. " Anybody come yet ?" asked the 

host, tying a white neckcloth with the utmost precision. 

" Sir Thomas Boulder, Colonel and Mrs. Waring, Lady Baker, 
Mrs. and Miss St. Denys, Major Blades, Captain Coverley, and 
Mr. Green," answered the well-drilled valet without faltering. 

"Nobody else expected, is there?" was the next question, 
while his master pulled the bows to equal length. 

" Dinner was ordered for ten, sir," answered his servant. 

"Been here long?" asked Vandeleur, buttoning the watch- 
chain into his waistcoat. 

" About three-quarters of an hour, sir," was the imperturbable 

" Very good. Then get dinner in five minutes !" and although 
nine hungry guests were waiting for him, Vandeleur employed 
that five minutes in writing a letter to a great nobleman, with 
whom he was on intimate terms. 

While he ordered a man and horse to gallop oft with it at 
once to the nearest post-town, in time for the night mail, he 
read the following lines over with a satisfied expression of coun- 
tenance, and rather an evil smile. 

" My dear Lord, — You can do me a favour, and I know I 
have only to ask it. I want a commission for a young friend 
of mine, as soon as ever it can be got. I believe he is quite 
ready for examination, or whatever you call the farce these 
young ones have to enact now-a-days. In our time people 
were not so particular about anything. Still I think you and 
I do pretty much as we like, and can't complain. On a slip 
of paper I enclose the young one's name and address. The 
sooner, for his own sake, we get him out of England the better, 
— and where he goes afterwards nobody cares a curse! You 

" Don t forget I expect you early next month, and will make 
sure there is a pleasant party to meet you. 

" Ever yours, 

" J. Vandeleur." 

" Not a bad day's work altogether," muttered the writer, 
as he stuck a stamp on the envelope, and went down to dinner. 

Grinding. £ i 



{& pursuance of her bargain with Mr. Vandeleur, whatever it 
may hav* been, Fanny Draper attired herself in a very becoming 
dress afler her one o'clock dinner on the following day, and 
proceeded to take an accidental stroll in the direction of Mr. 
Archer's house, which was but a few hundred yards distant from 
.he village of Ripley. 

Disinclined either to make fresh conquests or to meet old 
admirers, both contingencies being equally inconvenient at pre- 
sent, she followed a narrow lane skirting the backs of certain 
tottages, which brought her opposite the gate of Mr. Archer's 
garden at the exact moment when Dandy Burton, having 
finished his studies for the day, put a cigar into his mouth, as a 
light and temperate substitute for luncheon, the Dandy — whose 
figure was remarkably symmetrical — being already afraid of 
losing his waist. Miss Draper, as she would have expressed 
herself, " took more than one good look at him before she 
played her first card j " for the hawk, though unhooded, so to 
speak, and flung aloft, had not yet made quite sure of her 
quarry, and, except as a question of wholesome practice, it 
would be a pity to waste much blandishment upon the wrong 
voung gentleman. So she scanned him carefully before she 
pounced, approving much of what she saw. 

Dandy Burton was tall, well-made, and undoubtedly good- 
J.ooking, with an air, extremely becoming when people are not 
yet twenty, of being over his real age. His face was very nearly 
handsome, but there was something wanting in its expression, 
and a woman's eye would have preferred many a plainer 
countenance which carried a more marked impress of the man 

Even Fanny was conscious of this defect at a second glance. 
It made her part, she reflected, all the easier to play. So gather- 
ing some violets from the hedge-side, she tied them coquettishly 
into a posy, and then, dropping a curtsey, shot a killing glance 
at the Dandy, while she observed, demurely enough— 

"One of Mr. Archer's young gentlemen, I believe' I'm 
lure I ask your pardon, sir, if you're not." 

Dandy Burton, thus challenged, ranged up alongside. 

" J am staying with Mr. Archer at present," said he, removing 

3 a The White Rose. 

the cigar from his mouth and making a faint snatch at his round 
shooting-hat. " Did you want to speak to any of us ? I beg 
your pardon — I mean, can I be of any service to you before Mr. 
Archer goes out ? " 

With all the savoir-vivre he used to boast of in the pupil- 
room, Mr. Burton was a little puzzled. She was good-looking, 
she was well got-up, yet something in his instincts told him she 
was not quite a lady after all. 

" It's not Mr. Archer," she answered, with a becoming little 
blush and a laugh : " it's the young gentleman as father bade 
me leave a message for — father, down at Ripley Mill, you 
know, sir." 

" Bad English. Talks of ' father' and calls me ' sir,' " thought 
the Dandy, his confidence returning at once. 

"All right, my dear," he answered, replacing the cigar in his 
mouth, and crossing the road to her side ; " I know Ripley Mill 
well enough, and I know ' father,' as you call him, meaning, I 
suppose, my friend Mr. Draper ; but I did not know he'd got 
such a little duck of a daughter. I wish I'd found it out, 
though, six months ago — I do, upon my honour ! " 

" Well, I'm sure ! " replied Miss Fanny, in no way taken 
aback by the familiar tone of admiration, to which she was well- 
accustomed. "You gentlemen are so given to compliments, 
there's no believing a word you say. I should like to hear, now, 
what good it would have done you if you had known as I was 
down at the Mill six months ago." 

" I should have walked over there every day, on the chance of 
seeing your pretty face ! " answered the Dandy, rising, as he 
flattered himself, to the occasion. 

" You wouldn't have found me," she laughed j " I've been in 
London since then. I only came home for good yesterday 

" Then I shall spend all my spare time at the Mill now, till I 
go away," retorted Burton, rolling the wet end of his cigar with 
his best air. 

" Are you going away so soon ? " she said, looking rather 
anxiously into his face. 

" Decidedly," thought the Dandy, "this is a case of love at 
first sight. It's deuced odd, too. I am not much used to their 
ways, and it's just possible she may be gammoning a fellow 

all the time. Never mind ! two can play at that game, so here 

&"^ ■ 

" Not unless you'll come with me," he exclaimed affection. 

Grinding. gj 

■tely. " Since I've seen you, Miss Draper, for I suppose you 
are Miss Draper, I couldn't bear to leave you. Now, touching 
this message. Are you quite sure you have brought it all this 
way without spilling any of it ? " 

" I'm not one as isn't to be trusted," answered the lady, 
meaningly, motioning him at the same time to walk a little 
farther down the lane, out of sight of Mr. Archer's top win- 
dows. " They say as women can't keep secrets — I wish some- 
body would try me. It's not in my nature to deceive. There, 
what a fool I am, to go talking on to a gentleman like you, and 
I never set eyes on you before." 

" But you'll let me come and see you down at the Mill ? " 
said he ; " it is but a step, you know, from here. I could easily 
be there every day about this time." 

" And I should like to know what father would say ! " inter- 
posed Miss Fanny, with a sudden access of propriety. " I 
ought to have been back with father now, and here I am, 
putting off my time talking to you, and — there, I declare, I'm 
quite ashamed. I don't even know your name. It's Mr. 
Ainslie, isn't it ? " 

Burton laughed. 

" Why do you think it's Ainslie ? " 

"Because they told me as Mr. Ainslie was the only grown-up 
gentleman here," she answered, hazarding a supposition that 
could not fail to be favourably received, and flattering herself 
she was going on swimmingly. 

The Dandy, however, did not see the advantage of being 
taken for his friend, and thought it right to undeceive his new 
flame without delay. 

" My name's Burton," he said, rather conceitedly. " Ainslie's 
a shorter chap, with darker hair and eyes — altogether, not quite 

so — not quite so " he hesitated, for, though vain, he was not 

a fool. 

" Not quite so much of a ladies' man, I daresay ! " She 
finished his sentence for him with a laugh, to cover her own 
vexation, for she felt she had been wasting time sadly. " I 
don't think you re one as is ever likely to be mistook for some- 
body else. I must wish you good day now, sir. It's more than 
time I was back. I couldn't stay another minute if it was 
tver so." 

She was a little disappointed at his ready acquiescence. 

"And your message ? " he asked, lighting a fresh cigar. 

" It was only father's duty," she answered. " I was to tell 

34 The White Rose. 

the young gentlemen they're welcome to a lay's fishing above 
Ripley Lock to-morrow, if they like to come, and therf 
ought to be some sport for em, says father, if the wind keeps 

" We'll be there !" answered the Dandy, j Dyfully. "And 1 
say, how about luncheon ? You'll bring it us, won't you, from 
the Mill?" 

" For how many? " asked Miss Fanny ; thinking, perhaps, it 
might not be a bad plan. 

" Well, there's three of us ! '' answered the Dandy. " Dolly, 
and Ainslie, and me. Better bring enough for four, Miss 
Draper. It's not every day in the week I do such things. Be- 
sides, you'll sit down with us, you know., or we shan't be able 
to eat a morsel." 

She tossed her head. " Indeed, you re very kind," she said. 
"Well, if you re all coming, 111 attend to it, and perhaps 
bring it you myself. No, sir ! not a step further. I couldn't 
think of walking through the village with you. What would 
Mr. Archer say ? Thank you j I can take veiy good care of 

Thus parrying the Dandy's importunities, who, having nothing 
better to do, proposed a lounge down to the Mill in her com- 
pany, Miss Draper proceeded on her homeward journey, only 
turning round when she had gone a few steps, to comply 
with his entreaties that she would give him her lately-gathered 

" You'll chuck us the violets, at least," said this young gentle- 
man, in a plaintive tone. 

" Yes ; I don't want the violets," she answered, not very 
graciously, and whisking past the turn by the baker's, was soon 
out of sight. 

Dandy Burton was so elated with this, his last conquest, that 
he did not even wait to finish his cigar, but throwing it away, 
returned hastily to the pupil-room in order to catch his com- 
panions before they went out. 

He was lucky enough to find them both still in their studies ; 
Gerard Ainslie struggling hard with "unknown quantities," and 
Dolly puzzling over the discovery of America, an era of history 
inseparable, in his own mind, from the destruction of the Spanis>. 
Armada. Burton had no scruple in disturbing them. 

" Look there, you chaps!" said he, throwing Fanny Draper's 
violets on the study-table. " That's the way to do it ! A fellow 
can't oven smoke -a quiet weed in these diggings, but he's pelted 

Grinding. 35 

in again with flowers ! Now I don't mind laying odds, neither 
of you can tell in three guesses wheie these came from." 

" Don't bother !" answered Ainslie, looking up impatien'ly, 
and diving once more head-foremost into his algebra. 

" Some flowerets of Eden we still inherit, 
Bat the trail of the Dandy is over them all J n 

quoted Dolly, shutting up his English History with a sigh of 
relief. " Why, they were given you by ' some village maiden 
who with dauntless breasr ' was determined on making you a 
greater tool, my beloved Dandy, than nature and Archer com- 
bined can accomplish — if such a feat were, indeed, possible. They 
can't let him alone, ochone ! Every institution has its show-man. 
you know, Jerry, and the Dandy is ours !" 

Gerard did not think it worth while to answer j and Burton, 
on whose good-humoured self-conceit the arrows of chad' rained 
harmless, replied, "Wouldn't you like it yourself, Dolly? Never 
mind, my boy. Every chap must paddle his own canoe. We 
all have different gifts, you know." 

"Very true," replied Dolly. "Dress and deportment are 
yours j light literature, I think, is mine; and," sinking his voice 
while he jerked his head towards Ainslie, " love and logarithms 
are his !" 

"Wake up, Jerry!" exclaimed Burton, "and answer this 
slanderous accusation. Of logarithms we acquit you at once, 
and surely you are not soft enough to be in love !" 

Ainslie reddened. "Well," he said, keeping down his con- 
fusion, " 1 suppose a fellow may have ' a spoon' if he likes." 

"A spoon !" exclaimed Dolly. "A regular soup-ladle! He's 
got all the symptoms — premonitory, sympathetic, and confirmed. 

There is even a space for the ghost of her face in this narrow pupil-room, 
And Archer is bland, and the Dandy's a fool, and Jerry has met with his 

"What nonsense you talk!" retorted Ainslie, angrily. "At 
all events, I don't pick a handful of violets to flash them down 
on the study-table, and swear they were given me by a duchess 
five minutes ago. Hang it ! mine should be a better swagger 
than that. I'd have roses or pinks, or a bunch of hot-houso 
flowers, when I was about it." 

" A primrose on the river's brim, 
A yellow primrose is to him, 
And in he goes to sink or swim," 

$6 The White Rose. 

observed Dolly. " One flower is as good as another, if it's offered 

by the right party. Now I know where Dandy got these. They 
were given him by the cook. She picks them for the salad, and 
puts them in with what she calls 'garnishing — slugs, egg-shell, 
and bits of gravel." 

"You know nothing about it, Dolly!" exclaimed Ainslie. 
"This isn't a salad-day. No; it's a keepsake from Mother 
Markham, — milliner and modiste. She's repaired Dandy's stays 
ever so often since he came." 

" You're wrong, both of you," said the imperturbable Dandy. 
" They were given me by Miss Draper — Miss Fanny Draper, 01 
Ripley Mill — now then ! A young lady neither of you have 
ever seen ; and a deuced pretty girl too. What's more, she asked 
if my name wasn't Ainslie ?" 

Again Gerard blushed, and this time without cause. 

"A most improbable story," remarked Dolly. "Ain.slie's 
engaged. If she'd said Egremont, I could have believed it. 
This requires confirmation." 

" I can prove it fast enough," answered Burton. " Old ' Grits' 
wants us all to go down and fish at the Upper Lock to-morrow. 
It won't be bad fun. I vote we go, if Nobs will stand it. He 
must let us out at twelve o'clock." 

"Youd better ask him, Dolly," said Gerard. "Here he 
conies ! " 

While the latter spoke, Mr. Archer entered the pupil-room 
with a listless air, and rather a weary step. Truth to tell, he 
was a little tired of the ever-recurring round which in the slang 
of to-day is not inappropriately termed a " grind." It paid him 
well, as he often said to himself, or it would be unbearable. 
Like the treadmill, or any such penal labour, it was hard work 
with no visible result. One pupil after another was indeed 
aimed out, just able to squeeze through his examination, as a 
chair or a table is finished off to order by a carpenter ; but that 
result attained, the master's duty was done by his disciple, and he 
had no further interest in the latter's progress or subsequent 
career. Slow and quick, stupid and clever, all had to be brought 
up to exactly the same standard, — the former required more time 
and pains than the latter, that was the whole difference. One 
can scarcely conceive a more uninteresting phase of tutorship. 

Archer had made an improvident marriage and a very happy 
one; had sold out of the Army in consequence, and had been 
glad to augment his slender income by fitting young men for the 
profession he had left. But his wife died earJ«*andw.<tli her th§ 

A Cat's-PatV. 37 

stimulus to exertion was gone. He had no children, and few 

friends. Altogether it was weary work. 

If the necessary amount of study could be got through in the 
week, a holiday was even a greater relief to tutor than pupils; 
and with a stipulation to that effect, he willingly granted Dolly's 
-equest that they should all start on their fishing excursion next 
day at twelve o'clock. 



Old " Grits," as his familiars called that very respectable miller, 
Mr. Draper, liked to have his breakfast early — really early j 
meaning thereby somewhere about sunrise. This entailed getting 
up in the dark on such of his household as prepared that meal, 
and Miss Fanny entertained the greatest objection to getting up 
in the dark. Consequently, as they breakfasted together — for on 
this the miller insisted while she stayed with him — both father 
and daughter were put out from their usual habits. The hour 
was too early for her, too late for him. He was hungry and 
snappish, she was hurried and cross. Whatever differences of 
opinion they entertained were more freely discussed, and more 
stoutly upheld at this, than at any other hour of the twenty 

It is a great thing to begin the day in good humour ; and that 
woman is wise, be she mother, wife, or daughter, who brings a 
smiling face down to breakfast ere the toast becomes sodden and 
the tea cold ; wno, if she has disagreeable intelligence to com- 
municate, grievances to detail, or complaints to make, puts them 
off till the things have been taken away, and an evil can be con- 
fronted in that spirit of good-will and good-humour which robs 
it of half its force. Put man, woman, or child, or even a dumb 
animal, wrong the first thing in the morning, and the equanimity 
thus lost is seldom restored till late in the afternoon. Grits and 
Fanny both knew this well by experience, yet they had their say 
out just the same. 

"Now, Fan !" grunted the miller, walking heavily into their 
little parlour, with a cloud of yesterday's flour rising from his 
clothes. " Look alive, girl ! Come — bustle, bustle ! It's gone 
six o'clock." 

"Why father, how you keep on worriting !" replied a voice 

33 The White Rose. 

from an inner chamber, constrained and indistinct, as of one who 
is fastening her stays, with hair-pins in her mouth. 

" Worriting indeed !" retorted Mr. Draper. " It's been broad 
daylight for more than an hour. I should like to know how a 
man is to get his work done, if his breakfast has to be put back 
till nigh dinner-time. These may be quality manners, lass j but 
blow me if they suits us down here at Ripley !" 

" Blow your tea, father — that's what you've got to blow,' 
leplied Miss Fanny, who had now emerged from her tiring-room 
only half-dressed, pouring him oat a cup so hot that it was 
transferred, to be operaied on as she suggested, into the saucer. 
" I do believe now, if it wasn't for me coming here to stop with 
you at odd times, you'd get your breakfast so early as it would 
interfere with your supper over-night !" 

The miller was busy with thick bread-and-butter. A growl 
was his only reply. Miss Fanny looked out of the window 
thoughtfully, drank a little tea, shot a doubtful glance at her 
papa, and hazarded the following harmless question : 

" It s a dull morning, father. Do you think it will hold up — 
you that knows the weather so well at Ripley ? " 

It pleased him to be esteemed wise on such matters, and the 
hot tea had pin him in a better humour. 

" H 'Id up, lass ? " he answered, cheerfully ; "why shouldn't 
it hold up ? Even with a south wind, these here grey mornings 
doesn'l often turn to rain. You may put your best bonnet on 
to-day. Fan, never fear ! " 

" Then, if that's the case, I'll get the house-work over in 
good time: and I think I won't be back to dinner, father," 
said his daughter resolutely, as anticipating objection. 

But for its coating of flour the miller's face would have 

"Not back to dinner, Fan! And why not ? Where may 
you be going, lass, if I may make so bold as ask ?" 

She hesitated a moment, and then observed very demurely — 

"I took your message to Mr. Archer's yesterday, and the 
young gentlemen s coming down to fish, as you kindly invited 
of era " 

" I know — I know," said he. "Well, lass, and what then ?" 

" They're to be at water-side by twelve o'clock, and I'll 
engage they'll keep on till sun-down. Poor little chaps. 
They'll be wanting their dinners, and I thought I'd best step out 
and take 'em some." 

*'•' Foor little chaps ! " repeated tfte miller. "Why, one of 

A Cat's- Taw. 39 

'cm 's six feet high, and t'other s nigh twenty years old ; and 
Mr. Egremont — that's him as comes down by times for a 
smoke here — well, he'll pull down as heavy a weight as I can j 
and I daresay, for his years, he's nigh as sensible. They're 
grown-up young gentlemen, Fan, every man of em." 

"They'll want their dinners all the same," answered Fan. 

"And they'll want you to take em their dinners, I daresay; 
and want must be their master !" replied the miller. " I don't 
like it, Fan, I tell ee — I don't like it. What call have you 10 
go more nor a mile up water-side after three young sparks like 
them? I may be behind the times, Fin — I daresay as I am; 
but it cant be right. J don't like it, I tell ee, lass, and I won't 
have it ! " 

" I'm not a child, father," answered the girl in perfect good- 
humour. " I should think I can take care of myself in ugliet 
places than Ripley Lock ; and I was going on to see the house 
keeper at Oakover, whether or no. However, if you think well, 
I'll send Jane with the basket ; only she's wanted in the house 
let alone that she's young and giddy j and if I was you, father, 
I'd sooner trust me nor her." 

" I can get serving-lasses by the score," answered old Draper 
very gruffly, because a tear was twinkling in the corner of his 
eye, " but I have only one daughter. I've been a kind father 
to you, Fan, ever since you and me used to watch the big wheel 
together when you was too little to go up the mill-steps. Don't 
ye come a-flyin' in my face because you ve growed up into a fine 
likely young woman — don't ye now ! " 

She was touched ; she couldn't help it. She went round the 
table, and put her hand on the old man's shoulder. For the 
moment she was willing to be a dutiful and affectionate child. 

" You have been a kind old daddy," she said, turning his 
dusty face up to kiss it ; "and I wouldn't vex you for that kettle- 
full of gold. But you won't mind my stepping across to 
Oakover — now, will you, father? And I'll be sure to come 
back and give you your tea." 

She knew exactly how to manage him. 

"You're a good lass, I do believe," said he, rising from the 
table, " and a sensible one, too ; maybe, more nor I think for. 
Well, there'll be no harm in your taking a basket of prog, and 
leaving it at the Lock for them young chaps. But don't ye go 
a-fishin' along of 'em, there's a good lass! Folk trill talk, my 
dear. Why, they'll hardly let me alone when I give Widow 
Bolt a lift home from market in the cart. Now, hand us a 


40 Tfie If 'kite Rose. 

light for the pipe, Fan. I've said my say, so I'm off to my workj 
and I'll leave you to yours." 

But Mr. Draper shook his head, nevertheless, while he walked 
round by the mill-sluice, smoking thoughtfully. 

" Sue's wilful," he muttered — " wilful ; and so was her 
mother. Most on 'em s wilful, as I see. I'm thankful the 
boys is doing so well. They're good sons to me, they are. 
And yet — and yet I'd sooner both on 'em was sold up — I'd 
sooner see the river run dry, and the mill stop work — I'd 
sooner lose the close, and the meadow, and the house, and 
the stock — than that anything should go wrcng with little 
fan ! " 

Little Fan in the meantime, having gained her point, was in 
high good-humour. She sang merrily over what trifling work 
she chose to do about the house, abstaining from harsh words to 
Jane, who whenever she had a spare moment seemed to be 
peeling potatoes. She packed a basket with eatables, and filled 
a bottle with wine, for the anglers. Then she attired herself 
in a very becoming dress, put on a pair of well-fitting gloves, 
not quite new, just like a real lady's, she told herself, and 
crowned the whole with a killing little bonnet. Anybody 
meeting Miss Draper as she sauntered leisurely along the 
river-side with her basket in her hand would have taken her 
for the Rector's young wife, or the Squire's daughter at the 

Even the anglers were something dazzled by this brilliant 
apparition. Burton, proud of his acquaintance made the day 
before, felt yet a little abashed by so fascinating an exterior. 
Ainslie scanned her attentively, but this, I imagine, chiefly 
because her bonnet reminded him of Norah's ; while Dolly, 
who was getting very hungry, took off his hat with a polite 
bow, observing in a low voice, for the benefit of his com- 
panions — 

" It was the miller's daughter, 
And she stoppeth one of three, 
On the banks of Allan-water — 
How I wish that it was me ! " 

Miss Draper's deportment in presence of three strange young 
gentlemen was a model of propriety and good taste. She 
simply vouchsafed a curtsey, to be divided amongst them; 
offered her father's good wishes for their sport ; and proceeded 
to unpack her basket without delay. " For," said she, "I have 
jap time to spare, I am going a little farther up-stream on an 

A Cat's-Paw. 41 

errand, and will call for the basket as I come back." Never 
theless, though her eyes seemed fastened on her occupation, she 
had scanned each of them from top to toe in two minutes, and 
learned the precise nature of the ground on which she was about 
to manoeuvre. 

Burton's name she had already learnt. One glance at Dolly 
Egremont's jolly face satisfied her that with him she could have 
no concern. It must be the slim, well-made lad with the dark 
eyes and pleasant smile, whom she had engaged to subjugate. 
No disagreeable duty neither, thought Miss Fanny j so she set 
about it with a will. 

Leaving her basket in charge of Dolly, who pledged himself 
with great earnestness for its safety, she walked leisurely up- 
stream, and was pleased to observe that the three anglers sepa- 
rated at once; his two companions choosing different sides of 
the river below the mill, while Gerard Ainslie followed the 
upward bend of the stream, not having yet put his rod together, 
nor unwound the casting-line from his hat. He was thinking 
but little of his fishing, this infatuated young man ; certainly 
not the least of Miss Fanny Draper. No, the gleam on the 
water, the whisper of the sedges, the swallows dipping and 
wheeling at his feet, all the soft harmony of the landscape, all 
the tender beauty of the early summer, — what were these but 
the embodiment of his ideal ? And his ideal, he fancied, was 
far away yonder, across the marshes, thinking, perhaps, at that 
very moment, of him ! She was not across the marshes, as we 
shall presently see, but within half a mile of where he stood. 
Nevertheless, what would love be without illusion ? And is not 
the illusion a necessary condition of the love? Look at a soap- 
bubble glowing in the richest tints of all the gems of earth and 
sea. Presently, behold, it bursts. What becomes of the tints ? 
and rt'here, oh ! where is the bubble ? 

Gerard was roused trom his dreams by the rustle of a feminine 
garment, and the sudden appearance of the miller's daughter 
ying in wait for him at the very first stile he had to cross. She 
knew better than to give a little half-suppressed start, as when 
she met Vandeleur, or to display any of the affectations indulged 
in by young women of her class ; for, wherever she picked it up, 
Mi>>s Draper had acquired considerable knowledge of masculine 
nature, and was well aware that while timidity and innocence 
are efficient weapons against the old, there is nothing like cool 
superiority to overawe and impose upon the young. 

She took his rod out of his hand, as a matter of course, while 

43 The Wltite Rose. 

he vaulted the stile, and observed quietly — " I saw you coming; 
Mr. Ainslie, and so I waited for you. I suppose as you re not 
much acquainted with our river; there's a pool, scarce twenty 
yards below the bridge, yonder, where you'll catch a basket of 
fish in ten minutes, if you ve any luck." 

She looked very pretty in the gleams of sunlight with her 
heightened colour, and her black hair set off by the transparency 
she called a bonnet. Even to a man in love she was no despi- 
cable companion for an hour's fly-fishing; and Gerard thanked 
her heartily, asking her if their ways lay together, to walk on 
with him, and point out the place. His smile was very winning, 
his voice low and pleasant, his manner to women soft a-nd 
deferential — such a manner as comes amiss with neither high nor 
low: to a duchess, fascinating, to a dairy-maid, simply irresistible. 
Miss Draper stole a look at him from under her black eye-lashes, 
and liked her job more and more. 

" I'll come with you, and welcome," said she, frankly. "The 
walk's nothing to me ; I'm used to walking. I'm a country- 
bred girl, you know, Mr. Ainslie, though I've seen a deal of life 
since 1 left the Mill." 

" Then you don't live at the Mill ? " said Gerard, absently, for 
that unlucky bonnet had taken his thoughts across the marshes 

" I do when I'm at home," she answered, " but I'm not often 
at home. 1 ve got my own bread to make, Mr. Ainslie, if I 
don't want to be a burden to father. And I don't neither. I'm 
not like a real lady, you know, that can sit with her hands 
before her, and do nothing. But you mustn't think the worse of 
me for that, must you ? " 

" Of course not !" he answered, as what else could he answer? 
wondering the while why this handsome black-eyed girl should 
thus have selected him from his companions for her confidences. 

" I shouldn't be here now," she continued, "if it wasn't to 
see how father gets on. There's nothing but father to bring me 
back to such a dull place as Ripley. Yet, dull as it is, I can tell 
fou, Mr. Ainslie, you must mind what you re at if you don't 
want to be talked about ! " 

" I suppose you and I would be talked about now," said he, 
aughing, " if we could be seen." 

" / don't mind, if you don't !'' she answered, looking mil ii, 
his eyes. " Well, our walk's over now, at any rate. There'j 
the bridge, and here's the pool. I've seen my brothers stand c d 
that stone, and pull em out a dozen in an hour ! " 

A Cat's-1'aw. 4,3 

There was something of regret in her tone when she announced 
the termination of their walk that was sufficiently pleasant to 
his ear. He could not help looking gratified, and she saw it; so 
she added, '* If you'll put your rod together, I'll sort your tacklii 
the while. They've queer fancies, have our fish, all the way 
from here to Ripley Lock ; and they won't always take the 
same fly you see on the water. They're feeding now — look !" 

So the two sat down together on a large stone under a willow. 
with -the stream rippling at their feet, and the hungry trout 
leaping like rain-drops, all across its surface — in the shadow of 
the opposite bank, in the pool by the water-lilies, under the 
middle arch of the bridge, everywhere just beyond the compass 
of a trout-rod and its usual length of line. Gerard's eye began 
to glisten, for he was a fisherman to the backbone. He had put 
his rod together, and was running the tackle through its top 
joint when his companion started and turned pale. 

" Is that thunder ? " said she. " Listen ! " 

"Thunder!" repeated the busy sportsman, contemptuously- 
" Pooh ! nonsense! It's only a carriage." 

Miss Draper was really afraid of thunder, and felt much 

" Haven't you a green drake ? " she asked, hunting busily over 
his fly-book for that killing artifice. 

He stooped low to help her, and one of the hooks in the 
casting-line round his hat caught in her pretty little bonnet 
They were fairly tied together by the ears, a position that, 
without being at all unpleasant, was ridiculous in the extreme. 
She smiled sweetly in the comely face so close to her own, and 
both burst out laughing. At that moment a pony-carriage was 
driven rapidly across the bridge immediately over against them. 
Gerard's head was turned away, but its occupants must have had 
a full view of the situation, and an excellent opportunity of 
identifying the laughers. The lady who drove it immediately 
lashed her ponies into a gallop, bowing her head low over her 
bands as if in pain. 

Gerard sprang to his feet. 

"Did you see that carriage, Miss Draper?" he exclaimed 
h trriedly. " Had it a pair of cream-coloured ponies ? " 

" Cream-coloured poires ! " repeated Fanny, innocently. "I 
believe they was. I think as it were Miss Welby, troiu Marston 

His violent start had broken the cast; lg-line, and he was free. 
Like a deer, he sprang oft in pursuit of the carriage, running at 

44 The White Rose. 

top-speed for nearly a quarter of a mile. But the cream-coloured 
ponies were in good condition and well-bred, — with a sore ana 
jealous heart immediately behind them, which controlled, more- 
over, a serviceable driving-whip. He could never overtake them, 
but laid himself down panting and exhausted on the grass by the 
road-side, after a two-mile chase. 

When Gerard went back for his rod, Miss Draper was gone ; 
out he had no heart for any more fishing the rest of that after- 



Astounded at her companion's unceremonious departure, the 
miller's daughter stood foi a while motionless, her bright face 
darkening into an expression of vexation, not to say disgust. 
Half-immersed, the neglected trout-rod lay at her feet, paying 
its line out slowly to the gentle action of the stream. Some- 
thing in the click of the reel perhaps aroused the thriftier 
instincts of her nature. She stooped to extricate rod and tackle 
with no unpractised hand, laid them on the bank ready for his 
return, and then sat down again to think. Till within the last 
few minutes Miss Draper had been well pleased. Not averse to 
flirting, she would have consented, no doubt, to take in hand 
any of Mr. Archer's young gentlemen ; but her walk with 
Gerard Ainslie, thoueh shorter, was also sweeter than she 
expected. The refinement of his tone, his gestures, his manner 
altogether, was extremely fascinating, because so unlike anything 
to which she was accustomed. " He's not so handsome as 
t'other," soliloquised Miss Draper, "for I make no count of the 
fat one " (thus putting Dolly ignominiously out of the race), 
"but his hair is as soft as a lady's, and his eyes is like velvet. 
He's a nice chap, that ! but whatever made him start away like 
mad after Miss Welby and her pony-carriage ? I wonder 
whether he'll come back again. I wonder what odds it makes 
to me whether he comes back or no ? Well, I've no call to be 
at the mill till tea-time. I'll just step on and gather a few 
violets at Ashbank. Perhaps the young man would like a posy 
to take with him when he goes home ! " 

She recollected, almost with shame, how willingly she had 

Hot Chestnuts. 45 

given away another posy of violets to his fellow-pupil so short a 
lime ago. 

Ashbank was a narrow belt of wood separating the meadow 
from the high-road. She had gathered many a wild flower 
under its tall trees, had listened to many a rustic compliment, 
borne her full share of many a rustic flirtation, in its sheltering 
depths. For the first time in her life she wished it otherwise; 
she wished she had held her head a little higher, kept her 
clownish admirers at a more respectful distance. Such con- 
quests, she now felt, were anything but conducive to self-respect. 
She rose from her seat impatiently, and it was with a heightened 
colour and quick, irregular steps, that she trod the winding foot- 
path leading to the wood. 

She had never before thought the scenery about Ripley and 
its neighbourhood half so pretty. To-day there was a fresher 
verdure in the meadow, softer whispers in the woodland, a fairer 
promise in the quiet sky. She could not have analysed her 
feelings, was scarce conscious of them, far less could she have 
expressed their nature ; yet she felt that for her, as for all of us, 
there are moments when 

f ' A livelier emerald twinkles in the grass, 
A purer sapphire melts into the sea ;" 

end this was one of them. 

There is a certain fire dreaded by burnt children, and often 
kindled by the tiniest spark, at which it is unspeakable comfort 
to warm the hands, but with the glow of which people never 
seem satisfied till they have burnt their fingers. Like other 
fires, it should be poked sparingly, is easily smothered with over- 
much fuel, and burns, I think, fiercest in the hardest weather. 
Also, though a good servant, it is a bad master; carefully to be 
watched, lest it spread to a conflagration ; scarring deep where 
it scorches, to leave the sufferer marked and disfigured for a 

Of that fire the miller's daughter had been hitherto uncon- 
scious. She had always stood, as yet, on higher ground than 
those of the other r-ex, whatever their station, on whom she had 
thought it worth v/hile to exercise her fascinations. It was 
capital fun then. It was all mirth, merry-making, rivalry, and 
gratified vanity. Was it good fun now ? She had already 
asked herself that question, though she had scarcely spent half 
an hour in the society of her new acquaintance. Already she 
liad a.-.r-vered No! It was something; better than fun. this — 

<\5 The IFliite Roic. 

something deeper, sweeter, and far more dangerous. The first 
time a swimmer trusts to his newly-acquired art, he exults, no 
doubt, in the excitement of his situation, the development of 
his power ; but want of confidence in himstlf is the sure 
symptom that proves to him he is out of his depth. So was it 
now with Fanny. She longed for a mirror in which to arrange 
her hair, dishevelled by the south wind. She condemned the 
bonnet she had thought so killing an hour ago ; she mistrusted 
her very muslin ; she thought her gloves looked soiled and her 
boots untidy. She wondered whether he had detected freedom 
in her manner, want of education in her speech. She had often 
before wished she was a lady, but it was only that she might 
roll in a carriage, wear expensive dresses, and ordei about a 
quantity of servants. Now she felt as if she had over-rated the 
value of all these things, that silks, and splendour, and liveries 
were not the sole accessories of good breeding; and yet she 
wanted to be a lady more than ever. Why ? Because Mr. 
Ainslie was a gentleman. 

Thus, wishing, and dreaming, and repining, walking fast all 
the while, her colour was higher and her temper less equal than 
usual when she reached the shadows of Ashbank, and climbed 
the stile she had crossed so often on similar expeditions after 
hazel-nuts or wild flowers in days gone by. Surmounting the 
obstacle less carefully than she might have done had she expected 
a looker-on, it cooled neither her face nor her temper to rind 
Mr. Vandeleur strolling quietly through the copse, smoking a 
cigar with his usual air of careless good-humoured superiority. 
She bounced off the foot-board, and putting her head down, 
tried to pass him without speaking, but he stretched his arms 
across the path, and stopped her with a laugh. 

Her eyes flashed angrily when she looked up in his face. 

"I do believe as you*re the devil!" exclaimed the girl, in a 
voice that seemed to denote she was in earnest. 

" I appreciate the compliment, Miss Fanny," said he, remov 
ing the cigar from his mouth. " But I assure you I am not, all 
the same. You are an angel though, my dear. I did not 
expect you for at least an hour, and as I hate waiting, I am grate- 
ful for your early appearance." 

" I shouldn't have come at all, only I promised," answered 
Miss Fanny in a disturbed voice. " And, there, I wish I hadn't 
come at all as it is ! I wish I hadn't met you in Ripley Lane ! 
I wish I'd never set eyes on vou in my life! I wish — what's 


Hot Chestnuts. 45 

"What, indeed?" replied Vandeleur. "I should have lost 
n very agreeable little acquaintance ; you, a tolerably useful 
friend. Something has gone wrong, Miss Fanny, I'm afraid. 
You seem put out, and it's very becoming, I give you my honour. 
Sit down, and tell us all about it." 

" I'll not sit down, Mr. Vandeleur," protested the miller's 
daughter, glancing anxiously towards the river she had left. 
" But I'll walk as far as the end of the wood with you. I suppose 
as you've got something particular to say, since you ve kept your 
appointment so correct." 

" Quite right," he answered. " Something very particular, 
and it won't bear delay neither. There's no time to be lost. I 
want to know how you re getting on ?" 

Miss Draper controlled herself with an effort, and spoke in a 
hard clear voice. 

" I did what you told me. I went to Mr. Archer's yesterday, 
and made acquaintance with the young gentleman to-day." 
"With Gerard Ainslie?" he asked. 
She nodded and her colour rose. 

" What do you think of him ?" continued Vandeleur, smiling. 

"I don't think about him at all," she flashed out. "Oh 

Mr. Vandeleur, it's a shame ; it's a shame! And it can't be 

done neither ! I do believe as he's one to love the very ground 

a girl walks on !" 

The smile deepened on nis face. " Likely enough," seid he 
quietly, " but that won't last long now he has seen you." 

She looked a little better pleased. "Such nonsense!" she 
exclaimed. " What can I do ? " 

" This is what you can do," replied Vandeleur, never lifting 
his eyes higher than her boots, " and nobody else about hi-rc, or 
I should not have asked you. You can detach the boy from his 
foolish fancy as easily as I can break off this convolvulus. Look 
here. If it won't unwind, it must be torn asunder. If you 
can't work with fair means, you must use foul." 

While he spoke he tore the growing creepers savagely with 
his fingers, laughing more than the occasion seemed to warrant. 
Though she could not see how his eyes gleamed, she wondered 
at this exuberance of mirth. Strangely enough, it seemed tc 
sober and subdue her. 

" Tell me what to do, sir," she said quietly, with a paler 
cheek. " You've been a good friend to me, anl I'm not an 
ungrateful girl, Mr. Vandeleur, indeed." 

"You must attach young Ainslie to vourself" he replied in 

48 The White Rose. 

the most matter-of-course tene. " It ought not to be a difficult 
job, and I shouldn't fancy it can be an unpleasant one. Tell 
the truth now, Miss Fan, wouldn't you like to have the silly boy 
over head and ears in love with you ? " 

She turned her face away, and made no answer. Looking 
under her bonnet, he saw that she was crying. 

" Do you think I have no self-respect ?" she asked, in a broken 

" I know /haven't," he answered, "but that's no rule for you. 
Look ye here, Miss Fanny, business is business. I shouldn't 
have brought you here without something to say. When you've 
done crying, perhaps you'll be ready to hear it." 

" I'm ready now," she replied, with a steady look in his face 
that he did not endure for half a second. 

" I gave you a month when we met, the other evening, but 
I've altered my mind since then. If you'll halve the time, 
I'll double the money. There, you won't meet so fair an offer 
as that every day in a market. What say you, Miss Fan ? Are 
you game ?" 

She was walking with her hands clasped, and twined her 
fingers together a_ 'f in some deep mental conflict, but showed 
no other sign of distress. 

" I don't like it," she said quietly, but in clear forcible tones; 
" I don't like it. I could do it better by either of the others. 
At least, I mean they seem as though they wouldn't be 
quite so much in earnest. And it looks such a cruel job, too, 
if so be as the young lady likes him — and like him she must, 
I'm sure. Who is the young lady, Mr. Vandeleur ? You pro- 
mised as you'd tell me to-day." 

It was true enough. Curiosity is a strong stimulant, and he 
had reserved this part of the scheme to ensti.c Miss Draper's 
punctuality in keeping her appointment. 

" The young lady," replied Vandeleur. " I thought you might 
have guessed. Miss Welby, of Marston." 

" Has Miss Welby got a sweetheart ? " exclaimed the other 
in an accent of mingled jealousy, exultation, and pique. "Well, 
you do surprise me. And him ! Why didn't you tell me 
before ? " 

Why, indeed ? He found her much more manageable now. 
She listened to his instructions with the utmost deference. She 
even added little feminine improvements of her own. She 
would do her very best, she said, and that as quickly as might be, 
to further all his schemes. And she meant it too. She was in 

A Passage oj Arms. 49 

earnest now. She understood it all. She knew why he had broken 
away from her so rudely, and started after the pony-carriage like a 
madman. It was Miss Welby, was it ? And he was courting 
her, was he ? Then Fanny Draper learned for the first time 
why the afternoon had been so different from the morning. She 
felt now that she herself loved Gerard Ainslie recklessly, as she 
had never loved before. And it was to be a struggle, a match, 
a deadly rivalry between herself and this young lady, who had 
all the odds in her favour, of station, manners, dress, accomplish- 
ments, every advantage over herself except a fierce, strong will, 
and a reckless, undisciplined heart. 

When Vandeleur emerged alone from Ashbank on his way 
home he had no reason to be dissatisfied with the ardour of 
his partisan. He was not easily astonished, as he used often 
to declare, but on the present occasion he shook his head wisely 
more than once, and exclaimed in an audible voice — 

" Well, I always thought Miss Fan wicked enough for any- 
thing, but I'd no idea even she could have so much devil in her 
as that t " 



Old " Grits " was seldom wrong about the weather. The 
wind remained southerly, and yet the rain held off. The day 
ifler the fishing party was bright and calm. Nevertheless, it 
smiled on two very unhappy people within a circle of three 
miles. The least to be pitied of this unlucky pair was Ainslie, 
inasmuch as his was an expected grievance, and in no way took 
him unawares. 

When Mr. Archer granted their release the day before, it was 
on the express stipulation that the succeeding afternoon as well 
as morning should be devoted to study by his pupils, and Gerard 
knew that it would be impossible for him to cross the marshes 
for the shortest glimpse of his ladye-love till another twenty- 
four hours had elapsed. He could have borne his imprisonment 
more patiently had he not been so disappointed in his chase 
after the pony-carriage, had he not also felt some faint, shadowy 
misgivings that its driver might have disapproved of the position 
in which she saw him placed. 

50 The White Rose. 

It was bad enough to miss an unexpected chance of seeing 
Norah ; but to think that she could believe him capable of 
familiarity with such an individual as Miss Draper, and not to 
be able to justify himself, because, forsooth, he was deficient 
in modern history, was simply maddening. What was the 
Seven Years' War, with all its alternations, to the contest raging 
in his own breast? How could he take the slightest inttrest 
in Frederic the Great, and Ziethen, and Seidlitz, and the rest of 
the Prussian generals, while Norah was within a league, and yet 
out of reach ? " What must she think of him ?" he wondered ; 
" and what was she about ?" 

If Miss Welby had been asked what she was about, she would 
have declared she was gathering flowers for the house. Anybody 
else would have said she was roaming here and there in an aim- 
less, restless manner, with a pair of scissors and a basket. Any- 
body else might have wondered why she could settle to no 
occupation, remain in no one place for more than five minutes 
at a time — why her cheek was pale and her eyes looked sleepless; 
above all, why about her lips was set that scornful smile which, 
like a hard frost breaking up in rain, seldom softens but with a 
flood of tears. 

Norah knew the reason — very bit*;r and very painful it was. 
We, who have gone through tlv. usual training of life, and 
come out of it more or less hardened into the cynicism we call 
good sense, or the indolence we dignify as resignation, can 
scarcely appreciate the punist nent inflicted by these imagi- 
nary distresses on the young Jealousy is hard to bear even for 
us, encouraged by example, cased in selfishness, and fortified by 
a hundred worldly aphorisms. We shrug our shoulders, we 
even force a laugh; we talk of human weakness, male vanity 
or female fickleness, as the case may be ; we summon pride to 
oar aid and intrench ourselves in an assumed humility; or we 
plead our philosophy, which means we do not care very much 
for anything but our dinners. Perhaps, after all, our feelings 
are blunted. Perhaps — shame on us! — we experience the 
slightest possiole relief from thraldom, the faintest ray of satis- 
faction in reflecting that we, too, have our right to change; 
that for us, at no distant period, will open the fresh excitement 
of a fresh pursuit. 

But with a young girl suffering from disappointment in her 
first affections there are no such cou iter-irritaiits as these. She 
steps a once out of her fairy-land into a cold, bleak, hopeless 
warld. It is not that her happiness is gone, her feelings out- 

A Passage of Arms, 5' 

raged, ner vanity bumbled to tbe dust — but her trust is broken. 
Hitherto she has believed in good; now she says bitterly there 
is no good on the face of the earth. She has made for herself 
an image, which she has draped like a god, and, behold ! the 
image is an illusion, after all — not even a stock or a stone, but a 
mist, a vapour, a phantom that has passed away and left a blank 
which all creation seems unable to fill up. It is hard to lose 
the love itself, but the cruel suffering is, that the love has 
wound itself round everv trifle of her daily life. Yesterday the 
petty annoyance could not vex her; yesterday the homely plea- 
sure, steeped in that hidden consciousness, became a perfect joy. 
And to-day it is all over ! To-day there is a mockery in the 
sunbeam, a wail of hopeless sorrow in the breeze. Those gaudy 
flowers do but dazzle her with their unmeaning glare, and the 
scent of the standard-roses woul.' go near to break her heart, 
but that she feels she has neither hope nor heart left. 

Norah Welby had been at least half-an-hour in the garden, 
and one sprig of geranium constituted the whole spoils of her 
basket. It was a comfort to be told by a servant that a young 
woman was waiting to speak with her. In her first keen pangs 
ihe was disposed, like some wounded animal, to bound rest- 
lessly from place to place, to seek relief in change of scene or 
attitude. They had not yet subsided into the dull, dead ache 
that prompts tbe sufferer to hide away in a corner and lie there, 
unnoticed and motionless in the very exhaustion of pain. 

Even a London footman is not generally quick-sighted, and 
Mr. Welby s was a country-servant all over. Nevertheless, 
Thomas roused himself from his reflections, whatever they 
might be, and noticed that his young mistress looked " uncom- 
mon queer," as he expressed it, when he announced her visitor. 
She did not seem to understand till he had spoken twice, and 
then put her hand wearily to her forehead, while she repeated, 
vaguely — 

" A young woman waiting, Thomas ? Did she give any 
name ?" 

" It's the young woman from th>- Mill," answered Thomas, 
who would have scorned to usher a person of Miss Draper's 
rank into bis young mistress's presence with any of the forms 
he considered proper to visitors of a higher standing, and who 
simply nodded his head in the direction indicated for the benefit 
of the new arrival, observing without further ceremony — 

"Miss Welby's in the garden. Come, look sharp! That s 
the road." 

5» The White Rose. 

And now indeed Norah's whole countenance and deportment 

altered strangely from what it had been a few minutes ago. 
Her proud little head went up like the crest of a knight who 
hears the trumpet pealing for the onset. There even came a 
colour into her fair, smooth cheek, before so pale and wan. 
Her deep eyes flashed and glowed through the long, dark lashes, 
and her sweet lips closed firm and resolute over the small, 
white, even teeth. Women have a strange power of subduing 
their emotions which has been denied to the stronger and less 
impressionable sex ; also, when the attack has commenced, and 
it is time to begin fighting in good earnest, they get their 
armour on and betake them to their skill of fence with a 
rapidity that to our slower perceptions seems as unnatural as it 
is alarming. 

The most practised duellist that ever stood on guard might 
have taken a lesson from the attitude of cool, vigilant, uncom- 
promising defiance with which Norah received her visitor. 

The latter, too, was prepared for battle. Hers, however, was 
an aggressive mode of warfare which requires far less skill, 
courage, or tactics, than to remain on the defensive ; and, 
never lacking in confidence, she had to-day braced all her 
energies for the encounter. Nothing could be simpler than, 
her appearance, more respectful than her manner, more de- 
mure than her curtsey, as she accosted Miss Welby with her 
eyes cast down to a dazzling bed of scarlet geraniums at her 

The two girls formed no bad specimens of their respective 
classes of beauty, while thus confronting each other — Norah's 
chiselled features, graceful head, and high bearing, contrasting so 
fairly with the comely face and bright physical charms of the 
miller's daughter. 

" It's about the time of our Ripley children's school-feast, 
Miss Welby," said the latter } " I made so bold as to step up 
and ask whether you would arrange about the tea as usual." 

Norah looked very pale, but there was a ring like steel in hei 
voice while she replied — 

" I expected you, Fanny. I knew you had come home, for I 
saw you yesterday." 

Fanny assumed an admirable air of unconsciousness. 

" Really, miss," said she. "Well, now, I was up water-side 
in the afternoon, and I did make sure it was your carriage as 
passed over Ripley Bridge." 

It seemed not much of an opening ; such as it was, however, 

A Passage of Arms. 5J 

Miss Welby took advantage of it. Still very gravt and pale, she 
continued in a low distinct voice — 

" I have no right to interfere, of course, but still, Fanny, I am 
sure you will take what I say in good part. Do you think now 
that your father would approve of your attending Mr. Archer's 
young gentlemen in their fishing excursions up the river ? " 

Fanny bowed her head, and managed with great skill to 
execute a blush. 

" Indeed, miss," she faltered, "it was only one young gentle- 
man, and him the youngest of them as goes to school with Mr. 

" I am quite aware it was Mr. Ainslie, for I am acquainted 
with him," pursued Norah bravely enough, but, do what she 
would, there was a quiver of pain in her voice when she uttered 
his name, and for a moment Miss Draper felt a sting of com- 
punction worse than all the jealousy she had experienced during 
her interview with Vandeleur the previous afternoon. 

" I have no doubt, indeed I know, he is a perfectly gentleman- 
like person," continued the young lady, as if she was repeating a 
lesson ; " still, Fanny, I put it to your own good sense whether 
it would not have been wiser to remain at the Mill with your 

" Perhaps you're right, miss," replied the other, acting her 
part of innocent simplicity with considerable success ; "and I'm 
sure I didn't mean no harm — nor him neither, I dare say. But 
he's such a nice young gentleman. So quiet and careful-like. 
And he begged and prayed of me so hard to show him the 
way up-stream, that indeed, miss, I had not the heart to deny 

" Do you mean he asked you to go ? " exclaimed Norah, and 
the next moment wished she had bitten her tongue off before it 
framed a question to which she longed yet dreaded so to hear the 

" Well, miss," replied Fanny, candidly, " I suppose a young 
woman ought not to believe all that's told her by a real gentle- 
man like Mr. Ainslie ; and yet he seems so good and kind and 
affable, I can't think as he'd want to go and deceive a poor girl 
like me." 

Norah felt her heart sink, and a shadow, such as she thought 
must be like the shadow of death, passed over her eyes ; but not 
for an instant did her courage fail, nor her self-command desert 
her at her need. 

" It is no question of Mr. Ainslie," said she with an unmoved 

54 The White Rose. 

face, " nor indeed of anybody in particular. I have said my say, 
Fanny, and I am sure you will not be offended, so we will drop 
the subject, if you please. And now, what can I do for you 
about the school-feast ? " 

But Fanny cared very little for the school-feast, or indeed for 
anything in the world but the task she had on hand, and its 
probable results, as they affected a new wild foolish hope that 
had lately risen in her heart. With a persistence almost offen- 
sive, she tried again and again to lead the conversation back to 
Gerard Ainslie, but again and again she was baffled by the quiet 
resolution of her companion. She learned indeed that Miss 
Welby was somewhat doubtful as to whether she should be pre- 
sent at the tea-making in person, but beyond this gathered 
iiothing more dehnite as to that young lady's feelings and inten- 
tions than the usual directions about the prizes, the usual promise 
of assistance to the funds. 

For a quarter of an hour or so, Norah, stretched on the rack, 
bore her part in conversation on indifferent subjects in an indif- 
ferent tone, with a stoicism essentially feminine, and at the 
expiration of that period Fanny Draper departed, sufficiently well 
pleased with her morning's work. She had altered her opinion 
now, as most of us do alter our opinions in favour of what we 
wish, and dismissed all compunction from her heart in meddling 
with an attachment that on one side at least seemed to have taken 
no deep root. " She don't care for him, not really," soliloquised 
Miss Fanny, as the wicket -gate of the Parsonage clicked behind 
her, and she turned her steps homeward. " i needn't have gone 
to worrit and fret so about it after all. It's strange too — such a 
nice young gentleman, with them eyes and hair. But she don't 
care for him, nobody needs to tell me that — no more nor a 
stone !" 

How little she knew ! How l'tile we know each other ! 
How impossible for one of Fanny Draper's wilful, impulsive 
disposition to appreciate the haughty reticence, the habitual seif- 
restraint, above all, the capability for silent suffering of that 
higher nature ! She thought Norah Welby did not care for 
Gerard Ainslie, and she judged as nine out of ten do judge 
of their fellows, by an outward show of indifference, born of 
self-scorn, and by a specious composure, partly mere trick of 
manner, partly resulting from inherent pride of birth. 

Norah watched the departure of her visitor without moving a 
muscle. Like one in a dream, she marked the steps retiring on 
the gravel, the click of the wicket-gate. lake one in a dream 

An Appointment. 55 

too, shf walked twice round the garden, pale, erect, and to all 
appearance tranquil, save that now and then, putting her hand to 
her throat, she gasped as if for breath. Then she went slowlv 
into the house, and sought her own room, where she locked the 
door, and, sure that none could overlook her, flung herself down 
on her knees by the bedside, and wept the first bitter, scalding, 
cruel tears of lirr young life. Pride, scorn, pique, propriety, 
maidenly reserve, these were for the outer weld but here — she 
had lost him! lost him! lost him ! and the j^iy was more 
than she could bear. 



The post arrived at Mr. Archer's in the middle of breakfast, and 
formed a welcome interruption to the stagnation which was apt 
to settle on that repast. It is not easy for a tutor to mal'e con- 
versation, day after day, for three young gentlemen over whom 
he is placed in authority, and who are therefore little disposed to 
assist him in his efforts to set them at ease. Mr. Archer could 
not forget that, under all their assumed respect, he was still 
" Nobs " directly his back was turned ; and a man's spirit must 
indeed be vigorous to flow unchecked by a consciousness that all 
he says and does will afford material for subsequent ridicule and 
caricature. Also, there are but few subjects in common between 
three wild, hopeful boys, not yet launched in the world, and a 
grave, disappointed, middle-aged man, who has borne his share 
of action and of suffering, has thought out half the illusions of 
life, and lived out all its romance. If he talks gravely he bores, 
if playfully he puzzles, if cynically he demoralises them. To 
sink the tutor is subversive of discipline j to preserve that 
character, ruinous to good-fellowship; so long and we.iry silences 
were prone to settle over Mr. Archer's break fast-tab'.*, relieved 
only by crunching of dry toast, applications for more tea, and a 
hearty consumption of broiled bacon and household bread. Or 
the three pupils, Dolly Egremont suffered these pauses with tn» 
most impatience, betraying his feelings by restless contortions ot 
his chair, hideous grimaces veiled by the tea-urn from M- 
Archer's eye, and a continual looking for the postman (who«.e 
arrival could be seen fr mi the dining-rcom windows), unspeak- 


5& 1 lie White li'jae. 

ably suggestive of a cheerless frame of mi ad described by himself 
as suppressed bore. 

Glancing for the hundredth time down the laurel-walk to the 
oreen gate, he pushed his plate away with a prolonged yawn, 
nudged Gerard, who sat beside him, with an energy that sent 
half that young gentleman's tea into his breast-pocket and burst 
forth as usual in misquoted verse — 

" She said the day is dreary, 
He cometh not, she said ; 
None of us seem very cheery, 
And I wish I was in bed ! 

Do you know, sir, I think this ' weak and weary post, bare- 
headed, sweating, knocking at the taverns,' must have got drunk 
already, and is not coming here at all." 

Mr. Archer could not help smiling. 

" How you remember things that are not of the slightest use, 
Egremont," he observed. "May I ask if you expect any letters 
of unusual importance this morning ? 

" It's not that, sir," answered Dolly. "But a Government 
functionary, particularly a postman, has no right to be absent 
from his post. Mine is essentially a genius of method. I can- 
not bear anything like irregularity." 

" I am very glad to hear it," replied Mr. Archer drily. "I 
should not have thought it, I confess." 

" It's been my character rrom childhood," answered Dolly 
gravely ; " though I must allow both Jerry here, and the Dandy, 
give me many an anxious moment on that score. Not to 
mention the postman — 

I hold that man the worst of public foes 

Who— look out, here he comes ! yes, there he goes !" 

Everybody laughed, for Dolly was a privileged buffoon, and a 
servant entering at the moment with the bag, there was a 
general anxiety evinced while Mr. Archer unlocked it and dis- 
tributed the contents. Three for himself, none for Dolly, two 
for Burton, and one for Gerard Ainslie. 

The latter started and blushed up to his temples with surprise 
and pleasure. It was the first " Official " he had ever received, 
and its envelope, fresh fr«m the Horse Guards, was stamped 
with the important words, ' On Her Majesty's Service." 

He tore it open. It contained a sufficiently dry communica- 
tion, informing him that he would shortly be gazettea to »a 

An Appointment. <fl 

ensigncy In an infantry regiment, and directing him to acknow- 
ledge its receipt to an "obedient servant " whose name he wa« 
quite unable to decipher. 

He pushed the open letter across the table to Mr. Archer 
who, having just received some information of the same nature, 
expressed no surprise, only observing — 

" "We shall be sorry to lose you, Ainslie ; it is sooner than I 
expected. Make yourself easy about your examinations. I 
think you are sure to pass." 

He rose from the table, and the others rushed off to the pupil- 
room, overwhelming their companion with questions, congratu- 
lations, and chaff. 

"When must you go, Jerry?" "Are you to join directly, 
or will they give you leave ? " •' Don't you funk being spun ? " 
" Is it a good regiment ? How jolly to dine at mess every day!" 
"I shouldn't like to be a ' Grabby though" (this from the 
Dandy) ; " and, after all, I'd rather be a private in the cavalry 
than an officer in the regiment offoet .'" 

It was obvious that Granville Burton's range of experience 
had never included stable-duty, and that he was talking of what 
he knew nothing about. 

Gerard Ainslie felt the esprit de corps already rising strong 
within him. 

"Don't you jaw, Dandy," he replied indignantly. "You re 
not in the service at all yet ; and I've always heard mine is an 
excellent regiment." 

"How do you know?" laughed Dolly. "You've scarcely 
been in it a quarter of an hour. Never mind, Jerry, we shall be 
sorry to lose you. This old pupil-room will be uncommon 
slow with nobody but me and Dandy to keep the game alive 
The Dandy has not an idea beyond tobacco — 

Yet it shall be — I shall lower to his level day by day, 

All that's fine within me growing coarse by smoking pipes of clay." 

"Pipes, indeed!" exclaimed Burton literally. r I don't 
believe any fellow in the army smokes better weeds than mine. 
You told me yourself, Dolly, yesterday, under the willows, tbft 
you never enjoyed a cigar so much as the one I gave you " 

" Oh ! it was sweet, my Granville, to catch the landward breeze, 
A-swing with good tobacco, by the mill beneath the trees, 
While I spooned the miller's daughter, and we listened to the roar 
Of the wheel that broke the water — and we voted you a bore ! " 

58 The White Rose. 

replied the incorrigible Dolly. " Yes, you have a certain glim- 
mering of intellect as regards the Virginian plant, but I shaK. 
miss old Jerry awfully, just the same. So will you, so wiK 
' Nobs,' so will Fanny Draper. Don't blush, old man. She 
looked very sweet at you the day before yesterday ; and though 
the Dandy here had thrown his whole mind into his collars, he 
never i ;ade a racv )f it from the time she caught sight of you 
till the firish. Look here! We'll all go down together, and 
yoa shall wish her good-bye, and I'll have an improving conver- 
sation and a drop of n/.l_i ale with Grits — 

In yonder chair I see him sit, 
Three fingers round the old silver cup ; 
I see his grey eyes twinkle yet 
At his own jest. He drinks it up. 

A devilish bad jest, too! I say, cant one of you fellows quote 
something now ? I've been making all the running, and I'm 
blown at last." 

" It's about time you were," observed Burton, who had some 
difficulty in keeping pace with his voluble companion. " You 
get these odds and ends of rhyme mixed up in your head, and 
when you go in for examination, the only thing you'll pass for 
will be a lunatic asylum ! " 

" Not half a bad club neither ! " responded Dolly, " I saw a 
lot of mad fellows play a cricket match once — Incurable Ward 
against Convalescents. The Incurables had it hollow. Beat 
'em in one innings. I never knew a chap so pleased as the mad 
doctor. Long-stop was very like 'Nobs;' and they all behaved 
better at luncheon than either of you fellows do. Jerry, my 
boy, you'll come and see us before you join. I say, come in 
uniform, if you can." 

The propriety of following out this original suggest'' -j might 
have been canvassed at great length, but for the apparition of 
Mr. Archer's head .it the pupu-room door summoning Aiuslie 
to a private interview in his sanctum. 

" You will have to start at once," observed the tutor, looking 
keenly at his pupil, and wondering why the ;atural exultation 
of a youth who has received his first commission should be veiled 
by a shadow of something like regret. " I have a letter from 
your great-uncle, desiring you should proceed to London, to- 
night, if possible. It is sharp practice, Ainslie, but you are 
going to be a soldier, and must accustom yourself to march on 
short notice. I recollect in India, — well, that's nothing to do 
with it. Can you be ready for the evening train ?" 

An Appointment. 59 

"The evening train!" repeated the lad; and again a pre- 
occupation of manner struck Mr. Archer as unusual. "Oh, yes, 
sir !" he said, after a pause, and added, brightening up, " I should 
like to come and see you again, sir, when I've passed, and wish 
you good-bye." 

Mr. Archer was not an impressionable person, but he was 
touched ; neither was he demonstrative, still he grasped his pupil's 
hand with unusual cordiality. 

"Tell the servants to pack your things," said be, "and come 
to me again a: six o clock for what money you want. In the 
meantime, if you have any farewells to make, you had better 
set about them. I have nothing further to detain you on my 
own account." 

Any farewells to make ! Of course he had. One farewell 
that rather than forego he would have forfeited a thousand com- 
missions with a field-marshal's baton attached to each. He 
thought his tutor spoke meaningly, but this on reflection, he 
argued, must have been fancy. How should anybody have dis- 
covered his love for Norah Welby ? Had he not treasured it up 
in his own heart, making no confidants, and breathing it only to 
the water-lilies on the marshes ? Within ten minutes he was 
speeding across those well-known flats on a fleeter foot than 
usual, now that he had news of such importance to communi- 
cate at Marston Rectory. The exercise, the sunshine, the balmy 
summer air soon raised his spirits to their accustomed pitch. 
Many a dream had he indulged in during those oft-repeated 
walks to and from the presence of his ladye-love, but the visions 
had never been so bright, so life-like, and so hopeful as to-day ! 

He was no longer the mere schoolboy running over during 
play-hours to worship in hopeless adoration at tne feet of a 
superior being. He was a soldier, offering a future, worthy of 
her acceptance, to the woman he loved; he was a knight, ready 
to carry her colours ^xultingly to death; he was a man who 
need not be ashamed of offering a man's devotion and a man s 
truth to her who should hereafter become his wife. Yss; he 
travelled as far as that before he had walked a quarto< ol a mile. 
To be sure there was an immense deal to be got tlnough in the 
way of heroism and adventure indispensable to the working out 
of his plans in a becoming manner, worthy of her and of him. 
One scene on which he particularly dwelt, represented a night- 
attack and a storming party, of which, of course, he was destined 
to be the leader. He could see the rockets shooting up across 
the midnight sky; could hear the whispers of the men, in thei. 

So The White Rose. 

great-coats, with their white haversacks slung, mustered ready 
and willing, under cover of the trenches. He was forming them 
with many a good-humoured jest and rough word of encourage- 
ment, ere he put himself at their head ; and now, with the 
thunder of field-pieces, and the rattle of small-arms, and groans 
and cheers, and shouts and curses ringing in his ears, he was over 
the parapet, the p^ce was carried, the enemy retiring, and a 
decorated colonel, struck down by his own sv/ord, lay before 
him, prostrate and bleeding to the death ! A tableau, bright and 
vivid, if not quite so natural as reality. And all this, in order 
that, contrary to the usages of polite warfare, he might strip the 
Baid colonel of his decorations, and bring them home to lay at 
Miss Welby's feet ! It was characteristic, too, that he nevei 
thought of the poor slain officer, nor the woman that may have 
loved him. 

Altogether, by the time Gerard reached the wicket-gate in 
the Parsonage-wall, his own mind was made up, that ere a few 
minutes elapsed he would be solemnly affianced to Norah, and 
that their union was a mere question of time. Nothing to speak 
of! Say half-a-dozen campaigns, perhaps, with general actions, 
wounds, Victoria Crosses, promotions, and so on, to correspond. 

Why did his heart fail him more than usual when he lifted 
.he latch ? Why did it sink down to his very boots when he 
observed no chair, no book, no rickety table, no work-basket, 
and no white muslin on the deserted lawn ? 

It leaped into his mouth again though, when he saw the 
drawing-room windows shut, and the blinds down. Even its 
outside has a wonderful faculty of expressing that a house i? 
untenanted. And long before his feeble summons at the door 
bell produced the cook, with her gown unhooked and her apron 
fastened round her waist, Gerard felt that his walk had been in 

"Is Miss Welby at home?" asked he, knowing perfectly well 
she was not, and giving himself up blindly to despair. 

" Not at home, sir," answered the cook, proffering for the 
expected card a finger and thumb discreetly covered by the 
corner of her apron. She knew Gerard by sight, and was slightly 
interested in him, as "Mr. Archer's gent, what come after our 
young lady." She was sorry to see him look so white, and 
thought his voice strangely husky when he demanded, as a 
forlorn hope, if he could see Mr. Welby ? 

"Not here, sir j the family be gone to London," she answered, 
resolutely; but added, being merciful in her strength, "They'L 

An Appointment. 6l 

not be away for long, sir. Miss Wclby said as they was sure to 
be back in six weeks." 

Six weeks ! He literally gasped for breath. The woman was 
about to offer him a glass of water, but he found his voice at 
Jast, and muttered, more to himself than the servant, " Surely 
she would write to me ! I wonder if I shall get a letter ?" 

" It's Mr. Ainslie, isn't it ?" said the cook, who knew perfectly 
well it was. " I do think, sir, as there's a letter for you in tht 
post-bag. I'll step in and fetch it." 

So she " stepped in and fetched it." She was a kind-hearted 
woman. Long ago she had lovers of her own. Perhaps, even 
now, she had not quite given up the idea. She was not angry, 
though many women would have been, that Gerard forgot to 
thank her — seizing the precious despatch, and carrying it off to 
devour it by himself, without a word : on the contrary, return- 
ing to her scrubbing and her dish-scouring, she only observed, 
"Poor young chap!" comparing him, though disparagingly, 
with a former swain of her own, who was in the pork-butchering 
line, had a shock head of red hair, and weighed fourteen stone. 

Out of sight and hearing, Gerard opened his letter with a 
beating heart. Its contents afforded but cold comfort to one 
who had been lately indulging in visions such as his. It was 
dated late the night before, and ran thus : — 

" Dear Mr. Ainslie, — In case you should call on us to- 
morrow, papa desires me to say that we shall be on our way to 
London. We are going to pay Uncle Edward a visit, and it is 
very uncertain when we return. 

" I think I caught a glimpse of you fishing at Ripley Bridge 
yesterday, and hope you had good sport. 

" Yours sincerely. 

" L. Wel3%/' 

It was haid to bear. Though he had now a character to sup- 
port as an officer and a gentleman, I shouldn't wonder if the 
tears came thick and fast into his eyes while he folded it up. So 
cold, so distant, so unfeeling ! And that last sentence seemed 
the cruellest stroke of all. Poor boy ! A little more experience 
would have shown him how that last sentence explained the 
whole — would have taught him to gather from it the brightest 
V; juries of success. Unless offended, she would never have 
Written in so abrupt a strain; and why should she be offended, 
unless she cared for him ? It was like a woman ; not to resist 

Ca The White Rose. 

inflicting thai last home-thrust ; yet to a practised adversary it 
would have exposed her weakness, and opened up her whole 
guard. But Gerard was no practised adversary, and he carried a 
very sore heart back with him across the marshes. The only 
consolation be could gather was that Miss Welby had gone to 
London, and he would tind her there. In this also he betrayed 
tfct simplicity of youth. He had yet to discover that London is 
a very large place for a search after the person you are most 
desirous to see, and that, when found, the person is likely to be 
less interested in you there than in any other locality on the face 
of the earth. 



Neither the threatened six weeks, nor even five of them, had 
elapsed before Mr. Welby and his daughter returned to their 
pretty home. She had never felt so glad to get back in her life. 
Ainslie's stay in London had been so short as to preclude the 
possibility of his seeking Norah with any chance of success, and 
a combination of feelings, amongst which predominated no 
slight apprehens : on that her father might open the letter, pre- 
vented him from trusting one to be forwarded to her young 
mistress by his friend the cook. So Miss Welby returned to 
Marston with a firm conviction that Gerard was still at Mr. 
Archer's, and would cross the marshes to visit her, fond and 
submissive as usual. She had forgiven him in her own heart 
long ago. It hurt it too much to bear ill-will against its lord. 
The first day she was in London she found a hundred excuses for 
his fancied disloyalty ; the second, shed some bitter tears over 
her own cold, cruel letter; by the end of the week had per- 
suaded herself she was quite in the wrong, liked him better than 
ever, and was dying to get home again and tell him so. She 
never doubted the game was in her own hands ; and although 
when the time for return drew near — accelerated a whole week 
at her request — she anticipated the pleasure of punishing him 
just a little for rendering tier so unhappy, it was with a steadfast 
purpose to make amends thereafter by such consjderate kindness 
as should rivet his fetters faster than before. 

She had said they were to be away six weeks ; therefore, she 

A Disappointment. 63 

told herself there could be no chance of his coming over fur 
awhile, until he had learnt by accident they had returned. 
Nevertheless, on the very first day, she established herself, with 
chair, table, and work-basket, on the lawn under the lime-tree ; 
and was very much disappointed when tea-time came aud he 
had not arrived. 

Next day it rained heavily, and this she deemed fortunate, 
because, as she argued somewhat inconsequent ly, it would have 
prevented Lis coming at any rate, and would afford another 
twenty-four hours for the u- .dl tide of country gossip to carry 
him the news of her return. The following morning she was 
sure of him, and her face, when she came down to breakfast, 
looked as bright and pure as the summer sky itself. 

It was Norah s custom to hold a daily interview with the 
cook at eleven o'clock, avowedly for the purpose of ordering 
dinner ; that is to say, this domestic wrote down a certain pro- 
gramme on a slate, of which, if she wished the repast to be well 
dressed, it was good policy in her young lady to approve. On these 
occasions the whole economy of the household came under discus- 
sion, and those arrangements were made on which depended the 
excellence of the provender, the tidiness of the rooms, the soft- 
ness of the beds, and the orderly conduct of the servants. The 
third morning, then, after her arrival, the cook, an inveterate 
gossip, having exhausted such congenial subjects as soap, candles, 
stock, dripping, and table-linen, bethought herself of yet one 
more chance to prolong their interview. 

"The letters had all come to hand safe," she hoped, "accord- 
ing to the directions Miss Welby left for forwarding of them 

Miss Welby frankly admitted they arrived in due course. 

The cook had been " careful to post them herself regular, so 
as there could be no mistake. All but one. She'd forgotten 
to mention it, and that was the very day as Miss Welby left." 

Norah's heart leaped with a wild hope. Could it be possible 
that cruel, odious, vile production had never reached him aftei 

The cook proceeded gravely *o excuse herself. 

" She had seen the address— it was the only letter in the box; 
the young gentleman come over himself that very morning, 
while she (the cook) was cleaning up. He seemed anxious, poor 
young gentleman ! and looked dreadful ill, so she made bold to 
give it him then and there. She hoped as she done right." 

Norah's cheek turned pale. He Jooked ill — poor, pool 

64 the White Rose. 

fellow ! And he was anxious. Of course he was. No dourA 
he had hurried over to explain all, and had found her gone 
leaving that cruel letter (how she hated it now !) to cut him to 
the heart. She had been rash, passionate, unkind, unjust ! She 
had lowered both herself and him. Never mind. He would be 
here to-day, in an hour at the latest ; and. she would beg pardon 
humbly, fondly, promising never to mistrust nor to vex him again. 
No ; there were no more orders. The cook had done quite right 
about the letters, and they would dine at half-past seven as 

It was a relief to be left alone again with her own thoughts. 
It was a happiness to look at the lengthening shadows creeping 
inch by inch across the lawn, and expect him every moment 
now, as luncheon came and went, and the afternoon passed 
away. But the shadows overspread the whole lawn, the dew 
began to fall, the dressing-bell rang, and still no Gerard Amslie. 

Mr. Welby attributed his daughter's low spirit. >• during dinner 
to reaction after the excitement of a Loud or. life. He had felt 
it himself many years ago, and shuddered with the remembrance 
even now. At dessert a bright thought struck him, and he 
looked up. 

" It's the archery meeting to-morrow at Oakover. Isn't it, 
Norah ? My dear, hadn't you better go ? " 

" I think I shall," answered Miss Welby, who fully intended 
it. " Perhaps Lady Baker will take me. If she can't I must 
fall back on the Browns." 

" My dear, I will take you myself," replied her father stoutly 
while he filled his glass. 

She looked pleased. 

" Oh, papa, how nice ! But, dear, you'll be so dreadfully bored. 
There's a cold dinner, you know. And the thing lasts all day, 
and dancing very likely at night. However, we can come away 
before that." 

"You're an unselfish girl, Norah," said her father, "as you 
always were. I tell you I'll go, and I'll stay and see it out if they 
dance till dawn. You shall drive me there with the ponies, and 
they can come back and bring the brougham for us at night. No, 
you needn't thank me, my dear. I'm not so good as you think. 
I want to have a few hours in Vandeleur's library, for I'm by 
no means satisfied with the ' Sea-breeze Chorus ' in any of my 
editions here. It seems clear one word at least must be wrong. 
The whole spirit of the ' Medea,' the ' Hecuba,' and, indeed, 
every play of Euripides — But I won't inflict a Greek particle 

A Disappointment. 6$ 

no, ner a particle of Greek — on you, my dear. Ring the bell, 
»nd let's have some tea." 

So Norah went to bed, after another day of disappointment, 
buoyed up once more by hope, — Gerard was sure to be at tha 
archery meeting. Mr. Archer's young gentlemen always made 
a point of attending these gatherings ; and Dolly Egremont had, 
on one occasion, even taken a prize. " Yes," thought Miss 
Welby, " to-morrow, at last, I am sure to meet him. Perhaps 
he is offended. Perhaps he won't speak to me. Never mind ! 
He'll see I'm sorry at any rate, and he'll know that I haven't 
left off caring for him. Yes, I'll put on that lilac he thought so 
pretty. It's a little worn, but I don't mind. I hope it won't 
rain ! I wish to-morrow was come ! " 

To-morrow came, and it didn't rain. Starting after luncheon 
in the pony-carriage, Norah and her father agreed that this was 
one of the days sent expressly from Paradise for breakfasts, fetes, 
pic-nics, &c, but which so rarely reach their destination. 

At Oakover everything seemed in holiday dress for the 
occasion. The old trees towered in the full luxuriance of 
summer foliage. The lawn, fresh mown, smiled smooth and 
comely, like a clean-shaved face. The stone balustrades and 
gravel walks glared and glittered in the sun. The garden was 
one blaze of flowers. Already a flapping marquee was being 
pitched for refreshments, and snowy bell-tents dotted the sward, 
for the different purposes of marking scores, assorting prizes, and 
carrying on flirtations. The targets, leaning backward in jovial 
defiance, offered their round bluff faces with an air that seemed 
to say, " Hit me, if you can! " and it is but justice to admit 
that, in one or two instances, they had paid the penalty of their 
daring with a flesh wound or so about the rims. 

When Mr. Welby and his daughter arrived on the ground, a 
few flights of arrows had already been shot, and the archers were 
walking in bands to and fro between the butts, with a solemnity 
that denoted the grave nature of their pastime. Well might old 
Froissart, on whose countrymen, indeed, a flight of English 
arrows made no slight impression, describe our people as " taking 
their pleasure sadly, after the manner of their nation." 

If there was one social duty which Mr. Vandeleur fulfilled 
better than another, it was that of receiving his guests. He had 
the knack of putting people at ease from the outset. He made 
»hem feel they were conferring a favour oa himself by visiting his 
home, while at the same time he preserved so much of dignity 
lad self-respect as conveyed the idea that to confer favours on 

66 The White Rose. 

such a man was by no means waste of courtesy. For Mr. 
Welby he had a cordial greeting and a jest, for Norah a graceful 
compliment and a smile. 

" The shooters have already begun, Miss Welby," said he, 
turning to welcome a fresh batch of guests; '• and there's tea in 
the large tent. If you miss your chaperone at any time, you 
will be save to find him in the library." 

So Norah walked daintily on towards the targets, and many 
an eye followed her with approving glances as she passed. It is 
not every woman who can walk across a ball-room, a lawn, or 
such open space, unsupported, with dignity and ease. Miss 
Welby's undulating figure never look .=d so well as when thus 
seen aloof from others, moving smooth and stately, with a 
measured step and graceful oearing peculiarly her own. The 
smooth, elastic gait was doubtless the result of physical sym- 
metry, but the inimitable charm of manner sprang from com- 
bined modesty and self-respect within. 

Welby, a few paces behind, felt proud of his handsome 
daughter, looked it, and was not ashamed even to profess his 
admiration. There was a quaking heart all the time though 
under this attractive exterior. With one eager, restless glance 
Norah took in the whole company, and Gerard was not there. 
Worse still, Dolly Egremont had just made a " gold," and 
Dandy Burton was shooting aimlessly over the target. 

Poor Norah began to be very unhappy. Lackily. however, she 
got hold of Lady Baker, and that welcome dowager, who was 
rather deaf, rather blind, and rather stupid, offered the best 
possible refuge till a fellow-pupil should come up to make his 
bow, and she might ask — in a roundabout way, be sure — what 
had become of Gerard Ainslie. 

Mr. Archer's young gentlemen had hitherto taken advantage 
with considerable readiness of the very few opportunities that 
©ffered themselves to pay attention to Miss Welby. To-day, 
nevertheless, perverse fate decreed that both Egremont and 
Burton should be so interested in their shooting as to remain 
out of speaking distance. The Dandy, indeed, took his hat off 
with an elaborate flourish, but having been captured, in the 
body at least, by a young lady in pink, was unable, for the 
present, to do more than express with such mute homage his 
desire to lay himself at Miss Welby's feet. 

It was weary work that waiting, waiting for the one dear 
face. Weary work to see everybody round her merry-making, 
and to be hungering still for the presence that would turn this 

A Disappointment. 67 

penance into a holiday for herself as it was for the rest. There 
was always the hope that he might come iate with Mr. Archer, 
who had not appeared. And to so fraii a strand Norah clung 
more and more tenaciously as the day went down, and this her 
last chance died out too. i>en Lady Baker remarked the worn, 
weary look on that pale face, and proposed the usual remedy for 
a heart-ache in polite circles, to go and have some tea. 

"This standing so long would founder a troop-horse, my 
dear," said her ladyship. " Let s try for a cup of tea. Mr. 
Vandeleur told me it was ready two hours ago." 

Norah assented willingly enough. He might be in the tent 
after all, and for a while this spark of hope kindled into flame, 
and then went out like the rest. 

In the tern, nowever, were collected the smartest of the 
county people, including several young gentlemen professed 
admirers of Miss Welby. They gathered round her the instant 
she appeared. Partly yielding to the exigencies of society, partly 
to the force of habit, partly to intense weariness and vexation, 
she joined in their talk, accepting the incense offered her with a 
liveliness of tone and manner betrayed for the first time to-day. 
Lady Baker began to think her young friend was "rather giddy 
for a clergyman's daughter, and a confirmed flirt, like the rest 
of them." 

And so the day wore on, ind the shooters unstrung theii 
bows, making excuses for their inefficiency. Presently, the 
prizes w r ere distributed, the company adjourned into the house 
rumours went about of an impromptu dance, and people gathereu 
in knots, as if somewhat at a loss till it should begin. Mr. 
Vandeleur moving from group to group, with pltasant words 
and smiles, at last stopped by Norah, and keeping on the deafest 
side of Lady Baker, observed in a low tone — 

"Your father is still wrestling hard with a Greek misprint in 
the library. He won't want you to go away for hours yet. 
We think of a little dancing, Miss Welby; when would you 
like to begin?" 

It was flattering to be thus made queen of the revels; he 
meant it should be, and she felt it so. Still she was rather glad 
that Lady Baker did not hear. She was glad, too, that her host 
did not secure her for the first quadrille, when she saw Dandy 
Burton advancing with intention in his eye, and she resolved to 
extract from that self-satisfied young gentleman all the informa- 
tion for which she pined. 

Vandeleur had debated in hi? own mind whether he should 

68 The White Rose. 

dance with her or not, but, having a certain sense of th? fitness 

of things, decided to abstain. 

"No! hang it!" he said to himself that morning while 
shaving; "after a fellow s forty it's time to shut up. I've had 
a queerish dance or two in my day, and I can't complain. How 
I could open their eyes here if I chose!" and he chuckled, that 
unrepentant sinner, over sundry well-remembered scenes of 
revelry and devilry in the wild wicked times long ago. 

The band struck up, the dancers paired, the set was forming, 
and Burton, closely pursued by Dolly Egremont, secured his 

"Too late!" exclaimed the triumphant cavalier to his fellow- 
pupil. " Miss Welby s engaged. Besides, Dollv,. she considers 
you too fat to dance." 

An indignant, disclaimer from M : ss Welby was lost in Dolly's 
good-humoured rejoinder. 

" You go for a waist, Dandy,' ' said he, " and I for a chest — ■ 
that's all the difference. Besides, it's a well-known fact that the 
stoutest men always dance the lightest. You've got a square — 
Miss Welby will, perhaps, give me the next round — 

Turn, Fortune, turn thy wheel and lower the proud 
Dandy ! you dress too low, you dance too loud." 

But Miss Welby was afraid she couldn't — didn't think she 
should waltz at all — felt a little headache, and wondered how 
Mr. Egremont could talk such nonsense ! Then she took her 
station by her partner, and began. It was more difficult to 
pump the Dandy than she expected. In the first place he had 
thrown his whole mind into his costume, which, indeed, it is but 
justice to admit, left nothing to be desired; secondly, what little 
attention he might otherwise have spared, was distracted by the 
unconcealed admiration lavished on him by his vis-d-vis, the 
young lady in pink; and thirdly, his own idea of conversation 
was a running fire of questions, without waiting for answers, 
alternated by profuse compliments, too personal to be quite 

"Don't you waltz, Miss Welby?" said he, the instant they 
paused to allow (if the side couples performing the dignified 
notions they had themselves executed. "You've got just the 
figure for waltzing; I'm sure you must waltz well. Now ] 
diink of it, I fancy I've seen you waltz with Gerard Ainslie." 

Perhaps he had. Perhaps that was the reason she didn't waltz 
now. Perhaps she had made this absentee a promise that men 

A Disappointment. 69 

selfishly exact, and even loving women accord rather unwillingly, 
never to waltz with anybody else. Perhaps a difference of opinion 
at a previous archery meeting of which we have heard may have 
arisen from a discussion on this very subject. I know not. At 
any rate, here was an opening, and Norah took advantage of it. 

" He's a good waltzer — Mr. Ainslie," said she, drearily. "Why 
is he not here to-night ?" 

" Do you think he is quite a good waltzer ? " asked her partner. 
" He dances smoothly enough, but don't you think he holds 
himself too stiff? And then, a fellow can't dance you know, 
if It's your turn to go on !" 

An untimely interruption, while she carried out a ridiculous 
pantomime with the gentleman opposite — a swing with both 
hands in the Dandy's — and a return to the previous question. 

" You were going to tell me why Mr. Ainslie didn't come 
with you." 

" I don't want to talk about Ainslie," answered the Dandy, 
with a killing smile. " I want to talk about yourself, Miss 
Welby. That's a charming dress you've got on. I had no idea 
lilac could The others are waiting for us to begin." 

And so the grand round came, and still Norah had not extorted 
an answer to the question next her heart. She looked paler and 
more dejected than ever when her partner led her through the 
dancing-room, proposing wine-and-water, ices, and such restora- 
tives. She was very heart-sick and tired — tired of the dancing, 
the music, the whole thing — not a little tired of Dandy Burton 
himself and his platitudes. Succour, however, was at hand. 
Vandeleur had been watching her through the whole quadrille, 
only waiting his opportunity. He pounced on it at once. 

"You find the heat oppressive, Miss Welby," said he, extri- 
cating her from Burton's arm, and offering his own. " I nevet 
can keep this room cool enough. Let me take you to the 
conservatory, where there is plenty of air, and ?. fountain of 
water besides to souse you if you turn faint." 

It was a relief to hear his cheerful, manly tones after tlifi 
Dandy's vapid sentences. She took his arm gratefully, and 
accompanied him, followed by meaning glances from two or 
three observant ladies, who would not have minded seeing their 
own daughters in the same situation. 

?© Tkt White Host. 



"This -is delightful!" exclaimed Norah, drawing a full breath 
of the pure, cool night air, that played through the roomy con- 
servatory, and looking round in admiration on the quaintly- 
twisted pillars, the inlaid pavement, the glittering fountain, and 
the painted lanterns hanging amongst broad-leafed tropical 
plants and gorgeous flowers. It seemed a different world from 
the ball-room, and would have been Paradise, if only Gerard 
had been there! 

" I am glad you like it, Miss Welby," said Vandeleur, with a 
flattering emphasis on the pronoun. "Now sit down, while 
I get you some tea, and I'll give you leave to go and dance 
again directly I see more colour in your face. I take good care 
of you, don't I ?" 

" You do, indeed !" she answered gratefully, for the wounded, 
anxious heart there was something both soothing and reassur- 
ing in the kindly manner and frank, manly voice. 

A certain latent energy, a suppressed power, lurked about 
Vandeleur, essentially pleasing to women, and Norah felt the 
influence of these male qualities to their full extent while he 
brought her the promised tea, disposed her chair out of the 
draught, and seated himself by her side. 

Then he led the conversation gradually to the news she most 
desired to hear. It was Vandeleur's habit to affect a good- 
humoured superiority in his intercourse with young ladies, as of 
a man who was so much their senior that he might profess interest 
without consequence and admiration without impertinence. Per- 
haps he found it answer. Perhaps, after all, it was but the result 
of an inherent bonhomie, and a frankness bordering on eccen- 
tricity. At any rate, he began in his usual strain — 

" How kind of you, Miss Welby, to come and sit quietly with 
an old gentleman in an ice-house when you might be dancing 
forty miles an hour with a young one in an oven. Dandy 
Burton, or whatever his name is — the man with the shirt. -front — 
must hate me pretty cordially. That's another conquest, Miss 
Welby ; and so is his friend, the fat one. You spare none of 
us. Old and young ! No quarter. No forgiveness. Let me 
put your cup down !" 

Reaction, i l 

" I like the fat one best," she answered, smiling, while ah© 
gave him her cup. 

He moved away to place it in safety, and she did not lail to 
notice with gratitude that he kept his back turned while he pro- 
ceeded — 

"The other's the flower of them all, Miss Welby, to my 
fancy, and I am very glad I was able to do him a turn. He got his 
commission, you know, the very day you left Marston. I should 
think he must have joined by now. I dare say he is hard at work 
at the goose-step already." 

When he looked at her again, he could see by the way her 
whole face had brightened that she heard this intelligence for 
the first time. He observed, with inward satisfaction, that there 
could have been no interchange of correspondence ; and reflect- 
ing that young ladies seldom read the papers very diligently, or 
interest themselves in gazettes, was able to appreciate the value 
of the news he had just communicated. 

Norah preserved her self-command, as, whatever may be their 
weakness under physical pressure, the youngest and simplest 
woman can in a moral emergency. It was unspeakable relief to 
learn there was a reason for his past neglect and present non- 
appearance ; but she felt on thorns of anxiety to hear where ha 
had gone, what he was doing, when there would be a chance of 
seeing him again ; and therefore she answered in a calm, cold 
voice that by nc means deceived her companion — 

" I never heard a word of it ! I am very glad for Mr. Ainslie's 
sake. I believe he was exceedingly anxious to get his com 
mission. Oh ! Mr. Vandeleur, how kind of you to interest 
yourself about him ! " 

" We are all interested in him, I think, Miss Welby," he 
answered with a meaning smile. " I told you long ago I 
thought he had the makings of a man about him. Well, he has 
got a fair start. We won't lose sight of him, any of us j but 
you know he must follow up his profession." 

She knew it too well, and would not have stood in the way of 
his success ; no, not to have seen him every day, and all day long. 
And now, while she felt it might be years before they would 
meet again, there was yet a pleasure in tall ing of him, after the 
suspense and uncertainty of the last three days, that threw a 
reflected glow of interest even on the person to whom she could 
unbosom herself. Next to Gerard, though a long way off, aud 
papii, of course, she felt she liked Mr. Vandeleur better than anj- 



ji the White Rose, 

He read her like a book, and continued td play the Same 

" I thought you would be pleased to know about him," s<rd 
he, keeping his eyes, according to custom, averted from her 
face. " The others are all very well, but Ainslie is really a pro- 
mising lad, and some day, Miss Welby, you and I will be proud 
of him. But he's only reached the foot of the ladder yet, and it 
takes a long time to get to the top. Come, Miss Welby, your 
tea has done you good. You're more like yourself again ; and do 
you know that is a very becoming dress you have got on ? I 
wish I was young enough to dance with you, but I'm not, so 
I'll watch you instead. It's no compliment to you to say you're 
very good to look at indeed." 

" I am glad you think so," she answered, quitting his arm at 
the door of the dancing-room ; and he fancied, though it was 
probably only fancy, that she had leaned heavier on it while they 
returned. At any rate, Vandeleur betook himself to the society 
of his other guests, by no means dissatisfied with the progress he 
had made. 

And Norah embarked on the intricacies of the " Lancers," 
under the pilotage of Dolly Egremont, who contrived to make 
her laugh heartily more than once before the set was finished. 
She recovered her spirits rapidly. After all, was she not young, 
handsome, well-dressed, admired, and fond of dancing "r She 
put off reflection, misgivings, sorrow, memories, and regrets, till 
the ball was over at last. Lady Baker, dull as she might be, 
was yet sufficiently a woman to notice the change in her young 
friend's demeanour, and having seen her come from the con- 
servatory on their host's arm, not only drew her own conclusions, 
but confided them to her neighbour, Mrs. Brown. 

" My dear," said her ladyship, "I've found out something. 
Mr. Vandeleur will marry again j — you mark my words. And 
he's made his choice in this very room to-night." 

Mrs. Brown, a lady of mature years, with rather a false smile, 
and very false teeth, showed the whole of them, well-pleased, for 
she owned a marriageable daughter, at that moment flirting 
egregiously with Vandeleur, in the same room ; but her face fell 
when Lady Baker, whose impartial obtuseness spared neither 
friend nor foe, continued in the same monotonous voice — 

" He might do worse, and he might do better. He's done 
some foolish things in his life, and perhaps he thinks it's time to 
reform. I hope he will, I'm sure. She's giddy and flighty, no 
doubt j but I dare say it's the best thing for him, after all ' ' 

Goose-step. 73 

Mrs. Brown, assenting, began to have, doubts about hei 
daughter's chance. 

" Who is it ? and how d'ye know ? " she demanded rather 
austerely, though in a guarded whisper. 

" It's Norah Welby, and I heard him ask her," replied Lady 
Baker, recklessly, and in an audible voice. 

" Poor girl ! I pity her !" said the other, touching her fore- 
head, as she passed into the supper-room and commenced on 
cold chicken and tongue. 

She pitied herself, poor Norah, an hour afterwards, looking 
blankly out from the brougham window on the dismal grey of 
the summer's morning. Papa was fast asleep in his corner, 
satisfied with his victory over the Greek particle, and thoroughly 
persuaded that his darling had enjoyed her dance. The pleasure, 
the excitement was over, and now the reaction had begun. It 
seemed so strange, so blank, so sad, to leave one of these festive 
gatherings, and not to have danced with Gerard, not even to 
have seen him; worse than all, to have no meeting in anticipa- 
tion at which she could tell him how she had missed him, for 
which she could long and count the hours as she used to do 
when every minute brought it nearer yet. What was the use 
of counting hours now, when years would intervene before she 
should look on his frank young face, hear his kind, melodious 
voice ? Her eyes filled and ran over, but papa was fast asleep, 
so what did it signify ? She was so lonely, so miserable ! In 
all the darkness there was but one spark of light, in all the 
sorrow but one grain of consolation. Strangely enough, or 
rather, perhaps, according to the laws of sympathy and the 
force of association, that light, that solace seemed to identify 
themselves with the presence and companionship of Mr. Van- 



Few places could perhaps be less adapted for a private rehearsal 
than the staircase of a lodging-house in a provincial town. A 
provincial town enlivened only by a theatre open for six weeks 
of the year, and rejoicing in the occasional presence of the depot 
from which a marching regiment on foreign service drew its 
supplies of men and officers. Nevertheless, this unpromising 

74 The White Rose. 

locality had been selected for the purpose of studying his pari 
by an individual whose exterior denoted he could belong to no 
other profession than that of an actor. As the man stood gesti- 
culating on the landing, he appeared unconscious of everything 
in the world but tne character it was his purpose to assume. 
Fanny Draper, dodging out of a small, humbly-furnished bed- 
room, was somewhat startled by the energy with which this 
enthusiast threw himself at her feet, and seizing her hand in 
both his own, exclaimed with alarming vehemence — 

" Adorable being, has not your heart long since apprised ye 
that Rinaldo is your devoted slave? He loves yej he worships 
ye ; he lives but in your glances ; he dies beneath your " 

"Lor, Mr. BrurT," exclaimed Fanny, "why, how you go on! 
1 declare love-making seems never to be out of your head." 

Mr. Bruff, thus adjured, rose, not very nimbly, to his feet, and 
assuming, with admirable versatility, what he believed to be the 
air of a man of consummate fashion, apologised for the eccen- 
. ricity of his demeanour. 

" Madam,' ' said he, " I feel that on this, as on former occa- 
sions, your penetration will distinguish between the man and 
his professional avocations. I am now engrossed with the part 
of a lover in genteel comedy. My exterior will doubtless suggest 
to you that I am — eh? what shall I say? — not exactly disquali- 
fied for the character ! " 

Fanny glanced at his exterior — a square figure, a tightly- 
buttoned coat, a close-shaved face, marked with deep lines, and 
illumined by a prominent red nose. 

She laughed and shook her head. 

" Don't keep me long then, Mr. BrurT, and don't make love to 
me in earnest, please, more than you can help." 

While she spoke she looked anxiously along the passage, as 
though afraid of observation. 

Mr. BrurT at once became Rinaldo to the core. 

"Stand there, madam, I beg of you," said he. "A little 
farther off, if you please. Head turned somewhat away, and a 
softening glance. Could you manage a softening glance, do you 
think, when I come to the cue ' and dies heneath your scorn' '? 
Are you ready ? " and Mr. BrurT plumped down on his knees 
once more to begin it all over again. 

Fanny threw herself into the part. It was evidently not the 
first time that she had thus served as a lay-figure, so to speak, 
for the prosecution of Mr. Bruff's studies in his art. She 
sneered, she flouted, she bridled, she languished, and finally bent 

Goose-step. 7 J 

over his close-cropped head in an access of tenderness relieved 
by a flood of tears, with an air of passionate reality that, ?3 
Mr. Bruff" observed while he wiped the dust from his trousers, 
and the perspiration from his face, was " more touching, and 
infinitely more true, than nature itself." 

" You were born to be an actress," said he; "and I shall take care 
that you have box-orders every night while our company remains. 
It is a pleasure to know, even in such empty houses as these, that 
there is one person to whom a man can play and feel that his efforts 
are appreciated, and the niceties of his calling understood." 

Then Mr. BrurT lifted his hat with an air combining, as he 
was persuaded, the roistering demeanour of professed libertinism 
with the dignity of a stage nobleman, siecle Louis Quatorze, and 
went his way rejoicing to the adjacent tavern. 

Fanny must, indeed, have been a good actress. No sooner 
was he gone than her whole face fell, and on its fresh rosy beauty 
came that anxious look it is so painful to see in the countenances 
of the young — the look that is never there unless the conscience 
be ill at ease — the look of a wounded, weary spirit dissatisfied 
with itself. She waited on the landing for a minute or two, 
listening intently, then stole down-stairs, glided along the passage 
on tip-toe, and with a pale cheek and beating heart turned the 
handle of the sitting-room door. 

The apartment was empty, and Fanny drew breath. On the 
table lay a letter that had arrived but a few minutes by the post. 
She pounced upon it, and fled up-stairs as noiselessly, but far 
more quickly than she came down. Then she locked the door, 
and tore open the envelope with the cruel gesture of one who 
destroys some venomous or obnoxious reptile. 

Had she been but half an hour later, had the post been delayed, 
had an accident happened to the mail-train, my story would 
never have been written. Ah ! these little bits of paper, what 
destinies they carry about with them, under their trim envelopes 
and their demure, neatly-written addresses ! We stick a penny 
stamp on their outside, and that modest insurance covers a freight 
that is sometimes worth more than all the gold and silver in 
the country. How we thirst for them to arrive! How blank 
our faces, and how dull our hearts, when they fail us ! How 
bitter we are, how unkind and unjust towards the guiltless cor- 
respondent, whom we make answerable for a hundred possi- 
bilities of accident! And with what a reaction of tenderness 
returns the flow of an ?. Section that has been thus obstructed 
for a day ! 

76 The White Rose. 

Fanny read the letter over more than once. The first time 
her face took the leaden, ashy hue of the dead ; but her courage 
seldom failed her long, either for good or evil, and there was a 
very resolute look about her eyes and mouth ere she was half- 
way through the second perusal. Had it reached its rightful 
owner, I think it would have been covered with kisses and laid 
next to a warm, impulsive, wayward, but loving heart. It was 
a production, too, that might have been read aloud at Charing- 
cross without prejudice to the writer's modesty and fair fame. 
Here it is : — 

" Dear Mr. Ainslie, — I have to thank you for your letter io 
papa's name and my own. He was very much pleased to hear you 
had joined your regiment, and we all wish you every success and 
happiness in your new profession. We were disappointed not to 
see you before you left Mr. Archer, who always speaks of you as 
his favourite pupil; and, indeed, I had no idea, when we went 
to London, that you were going to leave our neighbourhood so 
soon. We should certainly have put off our journey for a day 
or two had we thought we were not even to bid you good-bye. 
But you know you have our very best wishes for your welfare. 
I will give your message to papa, and shall be so glad to hear 
again if we can be of any service to you here. Even if you have 
nothing very particular to say, you may find time to send us a 
few lines. Your favourite roses are not yet faded, and I gathered 
some this morning, which are standing on my writinr'-table now. 
Good-bye, dear Mr. Ainslie, with kindest regards from us all, 
believe me ever 

" Yours very truly, 

"Leonora Welby. 

" Marston Rectory, Sep*. — th." 

Then the last page was crossed (quite unnecessarily, for there 
was plenty of space below the signature) with two lines, — " I 
think I have written you a letter as correct and proper as your 
own, but I was so glad to get it all the same." 

Fanny's smile was not pleasant when she concluded this harm- 
less effusion. It deepened and hardened round her mouth, too, 
while she placed the letter in an envelope, sealed it carefully, 

and directed it to John Vandeleur, Esq., Oakover, shire; 

but it left her face very grave and sad, under a smart little bonnet 
and double black veil, while she walked stealthily to the post- 
office and dropped her missive in the box. 

She had plenty of time to spare. Gerard was still in the little 

Goose-step. 77 

mess-room of the 250th Regiment, smoking a cigar, after the 
squad drill it was necessary he should undergo, and thinking of 
Norah, perhaps less than usual, because he was persuaded that 
his own letter must ere this have come to hand and that she 
Would answer it at once. 

He had joined his regiment, or rather its depot, immediately 
on his appointment, without availing himself of the two months' 
leave indulgently granted by the Horse Guards on such occa- 
sions, — his great-uncle, an arbitrary and unreasonable old gentle- 
man, having made this condition on purchasing the commission 
and outfit for his relative. Ainslie arrived in barracks conse- 
quently without uniforms, and without furniture, so he learned 
a good deal of his drill in a shooting-jacket ; and as the depot 
was on the eve of a march, took cheap lodgings in the neighbour- 
hood, which he seldom visited but to dress for dinner and go 
to bed. He had led this life for some little time before he 
could summon up courage to write to Miss Welby, and he was 
now looking forward with a thrill of delight to finding her 
answer at his lodgings, when he returned, which he meant to do 
the moment he had finished his cigar. 

The conversation of Ensign Ainslie and his comrades, I am 
bound to admit, was not instructive nor even amusing. They 
were smoking and partaking also of soda-water, strengthened by 
stimulants, in a bare, comfortless, little room, littered with 
newspapers, and redolent of tobacco, both stale and fresh. Time 
seemed to hang heavy on their hands. They lounged and 
straddled in every variety of attitude, on hard wooden chairs ; 
and they spoke in every variety of tone, from the gruff bass of 
the red-faced veteran to the broken falsetto of the lately-joined 
recruit. A jaded mess-waiter, or a trim orderly-sergeant, ap- 
peared at intervals ; but such interruptions in no way affected 
the flow of conversation, which turned on the personal charms 
of a lady, ascertained to have arrived lately in the town, and the 
mystery attached to her choice of residence. 

Captain Hughes, a colonial lady-killer of much experience, 
expressed himself in terms of unqualified approval. 

"The best-looking woman I've seen since we left Man- 
chester," insisted the captain, dogmatically. "I followed her 
all the way down Market Street, yesterday, and I give you my 
honour, sir, she's as straight on her ankles as an opera-dancer; 
with a figure — I haven't seen such a figure since I got my com- 
pany, I'll tell you. She reminded me of ' the Slasher.' You 
remember ' the Slasher,' Jones ?-r— girl that threw you over, last 
fall, so coolly, at Quebec," 

8 The White Rose. 

Jones, a young warrior of fair complexion, and unobtrusive 
manners, owned that he had not forgotten ; blushing the while 
uncomfortably, because that " the Slasher's " glances had 
wounded him in a vital place. 

" I know where she lives, too," resumed the captain, trium- 
phantly. " I followed the trail, sir, like a Red Indian. Ah ! 
they can't dodge a fellow that's had my practice in the game, 
even if they want to, which they don't. I'd two checks — one 
at a grocer's, and one at a glove-shop j but I ran her to ground 
at last." 

"You'll tell me!" lisped little Baker, commonly called 
" Crumbs," the youngest of the party, senior only to Gerard in 
the regiment, but looking like a mere child by his side. " You'll 
tell me, of course, because I'm in your own company. You 
can't get out of it ; and we'll walk down this afternoon, and 
call together." 

" Crumbs!" observed his captain, impressively, "you're the 
last man in the regiment I'd trust." (Crumbs looked im- 
mensely delighted). " Besides, you little beggar, you ought to 
be back at school ; and if I did my duty as the captain of your 
company, I'd make the Adjutant write to your mother and tell 
her so." 

" Crumbs," no whit abashed, ordered a tumbler of brandy 
and soda as big as himself, from which he presently emerged, 
breathless, and observed, for anybody to take up — " Ainslie s cut 
you all out. He lodges in the ss«ie house ! " 

Every eye was now turned towards Ainslie, and Captain 
Hughes began to fear a rival in the line he had followed hitherto 
with such success. " I don't think it can be the same woman," 
said he, checking the mirth of the youngsters with a frown. 
" She lives in Ainslie' s lodgings, I grant you, but she can only 
have come there yesterday, or I must have seen her before. 
Isn't it so, Ainslie?" 

"You know more about it than I do," answered the uncon- 
scious Gerard. " The only women I've seen in the house are 
Mother Briggs herself and a poor servant-girl they call H'ann — 
very strong of the H. It must have been Mother Briggs you 
followed home, Hughes. I'll congratulate her on her conquest 
when I go back." 

But Captain Hughes, nettled by loud shouts of laughter, 
vigorously repudiated such an accusation, and indeed seemed 
inclined to treat the matter with some slight display of temper, 
when the harmless Jones, who had been cooling his face b" 

Goose-step. 79 

looking out of the window, changed the subject for another 
almost equally congenial to his comrades. 

"Blessed if there isn't Snipe dismounting at the gate ! " he 
exclaimed joyfully ; " there's a drummer holding his nag. What 
a spicy chestnut it is ! Holloa, Snipy ! come in, won't you, and 
have a B. and S. ?" 

A voice was heard to reply in the affirmative ; and before the 
B. and S. — signifying a beaker of brandy and soda-water — could 
make its appearance, Mr. Snipe walked into the room, and sat 
himself down amongst the officers with some little shamefaced- 
ness, which he strove to conceal by squaring his elbows, pulling 
down his shirt-cuffs, and coaxing a luxuriant crop of brown 
whiskers under his chin. Mr. Snipe was one of those enter- 
prising* individuals who make a livelihood by riding steeple- 
chases, and are yet supposed by a pious fiction never to receive 
money for thus exerting their energies and risking their necks, 
Concerning Mr. Snipe's antecedents, the officers of the 250th 
were pleasantly ignorant. He had rented a farm, and failed. 
Had gone into business as a horse-dealer, and failed. Had been 
appointed to the Militia, but somehow never joined his corps. 
Had been, ostensibly, in all the good things of the Turf for the 
last three years ; yet seemed to be none the richer, and none the 
less hungry for a chance. Had been even taken into partnership 
by a large cattle dealer, when at his lowest ebb, and bought out 
of the concern by his confiding principal before three months 
expired. Mr. Snipe always said he was too sharp for the busi- 
ness, and, I believe, his partner thought so too. Since then he 
had been riding at all weights, over all courses, wherever horses 
were pitted against each other to gallop and jump, or to be 
pulled and fall, as the case might be, and the trainers' orders 
might direct. Mr. Snipe had figured in France, in Germany, in 
Belgium, and once on a thrice auspicious occasion had been 
within a stirrup leather's thickness of winning the Liverpool ; 
that is to say, but for its breaking, he couldn't have lost ! He 
seemed in easy circumstances for a considerable period after this 
misfortune, smoked the best of cigars, and drank a pint of sherry 
every day, between luncheon and dinner-time. 

This gentleman was a wiry, well-built, athletic man, some- 
what below the middle size, but extremely strong for his weight. 
He could shoot, play rackets, whist, and cricket better than most 
people, and was a consummate horseman on any animal undei 
any circumstances. His countenance, though good-looking, was 
oot prepossessing ; and his manners argued want of confidence, 

80 The Whit* Rose. 

not so much in his impudence as in his social standing. What 
he might have been among ladies I am not prepared to say, but 
he seemed awkward and ill at ease even before such indulgent 
critics as the officers of the 250th Foot. 

He carried it off, however, with a certain assumption of 
bravado, and entered the mess-room with that peculiar gait — 
half limp, half swagger — which it is impossible for any man to 
accomplish who does not spend the greatest part of his life in the 
saddle. Captain Hughes, as possessing an animal of his own in 
training, treated him with considerable deference ; while the 
younger officers, including Jones, gazed on him with an admira- 
tion almost sublime in its intensity. 

" How's the horse?" said this worthy, addressing himself at 
once to the captain, without taking any more notice 1 of his 
entertainers than a down-cast, circular, half-bow to be divided 
amongst themj " how's ' Booby by Idle-boy?' You haven't 
scratched him, have ye, at the last minute ? I tell ye, he'll 
carry all the money to-morrow ; and he ought to be near win- 
ning, too — see if he won't !" 

"The horse is doing good work," answered Hughes, delighted 
to be thus recognised in his double capacity of sportsman and 
dandy before all his young admirers. " I make no secrets about 
him. He galloped this morning with ' Fleur-de-Lys,' and he 
will run to-morrow strictly on the square." 

Mr. Snipe shot a glance from his keen eye in the speaker's 
face, and looked down at his own boots again directly. 

"Of course! of course!" he repeated ; "and you can't get 
more than two to one about him, neither here nor in town. 
Who's to ride him, Captain ? I suppose you couldn't get up at 
the weight ? " 

" Impossible," answered Hughes, complacently, and trying to 
look as if he had ever dreamt of such a thing. " My brother 
officer, Mr. Ainslie, has promised to steer him for me to-morrow ; 
and I agree with you we have a very fair chance of winning." 

Gerard, thus distinguished, came forward from the fire-place, 
and observed, modestly : 

"I'll do my best ; but you know, Hughes, I have never 
ridden a hurdle-race in my life." 

Mr. Snipe's little red betting-book was half-way out of his 
pocket, but at this candid avowal he thrust it back again 
unopened. His quick eye had taken in Gerard's active figure 
and frank, fearless face, without seeming to be lifted from the 
giound ; and he knew how dangerous, on a good horse-, was an 

Wearing the Green. 8t 

inexperienced performer, who would go away in front. On 
second thoughts, however, he drew it out once more ; and 
taking a pull at his brandy and soda, asked, in a very business- 
like tone — 

"What will anybody lay me against ' Lothario'? I'll take 
six to one he's placed. First, second, or third — i, a, 3, or a 
win. Come ! he's as slow as a mile-stone, but he can stay for a 
week. I'll" take jive if I ride him myself! " 

Then began a hubbub of voices, a production of betting-books, 
and a confusion of tongues, in the midst of which Gerard made 
his escape to his own lodgings, and rushed to the table whereon 
he was accustomed to find his letters. Something like a pang 
of real physical pain shot through him to see it bare, and for one 
moment he felt bitterly angry in his disappointment. Then 
next came a rush of contending feelings — love, humiliation, 
mistrust, despondency, and a morbid, unworthy desire that she, 
too, might learn what it was to suffer the pain she had chosen 
to inflict. Then his pride rose to the rescue, and he resolved to 
leave off caring for anything, take life as it came, and enjoy the 
material pleasures of the present, unburdened by thought for the 
future, still less (and again the pain shot through him) haunted 
by memories of the past. Altogether he was in a likely frame 
of mind, when fairly mounted on " Booby by Idle-boy," to 
make the pace very good before he was caught. 



The humours and events of a remote country race-course would 
be interesting, I imagine, only to the most sporting readers; 
and for such there is an ample supply provided in a periodical 
literature exclusively devoted to those amusements or pursuits 
which many people make the chief business of life. 

It is unnecessary, therefore, to dwell upon the various inci- 
dents of such a gathering : the feeble bustle at the railway station, 
the spurious excitement promoted by early beer at the hotel, the 
general stagnation in the streets, or the dreary appearance of 
that thinly-sprinkled meadow, which on all other days in the 
year was called the Cow-pasture, but on this occasion was 
entitled the Race-course. Let us rather take a peep at the 
horses themselves as they are walked to and fro in a railed-off 

8a The White Rose. 

space, behind a rough wooden edifice doing duty for a stand, and 
judge with our own eyes of their claims to success. 

There are four about to start for the hurdle race, and two of 
these, "Tom-tit " and "The Conspirator," are so swaddled up 
in clothing, that nothing of them is to be detected save some 
doubtful legs and two long square tails. Their riders are drink- 
ing sherry, with very pale faces, preparatory to " weighing in j" 
and it is remarkable that their noses borrow more colour from 
the generous fluid than their cheeks. Notwithstanding so re- 
assuring an employment, they have little confidence in them- 
selves or their horses. They do not expect to win, and are not 
likely to be disappointed ; for having heard great things of 
"Booby by Idle-boy," and entertaining besides misgivings that 
Mr. Snipe would hardly have brought "Lothario" all this 
distance for nothing, it has dawned upon them that they had 
better have saved their entrance-money. Besides, they have 
even now seen some work-people putting up the hurdles, and 
they wish they were well out of it altogether. 

Mr. Snipe, on the contrary, clad in a knowing great-coat, 
with goloshes over his neat racing boots, and a heavy straight 
whip under his arm, walks into the enclosure, accompanied b" 
a friend as sharp-looking as himself, with his usual downcast 
glances and equestrian shamble, but with a confidence in his 
own powers that it requires no sherry to fortify nor to create. 
He superintends carefully the saddling and bridling of Lothario, 
an attention the animal acknowledges by laid-back ears and a 
well-directed attempt to kick his jockey in the stomach. Mr. 
Snipe grins playfully. " If you was only as fond of me as I 
am of you! " says he, between his teethj and taking his friend's 
arm, whispers in his ear. The friend — who looks like a gam- 
bling-house keeper out of employment — disappears, losing him- 
self with marvellous rapidity in the crowd beneath the stand. 

And now Gerard, clad in boots and breeches of considerable 
pretension, and attired in a green silk jacket and white cap — 
the colours of Captain Hughes — emerges from the weighing- 
shed, where he has first pulled down the indispensable twelve 
stone; and surrounded by admiring brother officers, walks 
daintily towards his horse. The young man s eye is bright, and 
the colour stands in his cheek. He means to win if he can, 
and is not the least nervous. Captain Hughes, who thinks it 
looks correct to be on extremely confidential terms, remains 
assiduously at his elbow, and whispers instructions in his ear 
from time to time, as he has seen great noblemen at Ascot do 

Wearing the Green. 83 

by some celebrated jockey. " Don't disappoint the horse, 
Gerard," says he, one minute ; " Perhaps you'd better wait on 
Lothario, and come when you see Snipe begin," the next ; with 
various other directions of a contradictory nature, to each of 
which Gerard contents himself by answering, "All right!" 
meaning religiously to do his very best for the race. 

But if the rider's nerves are unshaken by the prospect of a 
struggle for victory, as much cannot be said for the horse. 
"Booby by Idle-boy" is not quite thorough-bred, but has, 
nevertheless, been put through so severe a preparation that it 
might have served to disgust an " Eclipse." In the language of 
the stable, he has been " trained to fiddle-strings; " and neither 
courage nor temper are the better for the ordeal. His skin 
looks smooth, but his flanks are hollow ; his eye is excited, his 
ears are restless ; he champs and churns at his bridle till the 
foam stands thickly on the bit ; he winces at the slightest 
movement, and betrays altogether an irritable desire to be off, 
and get the whole thing over, that argues ill for success. 

Mr. Snipe, sitting at his ease on Lothario, watches his adver- 
sary, swung by a soldier-servant into the saddle. 

"I'm blessed if the young un isn't aworkman ! " he mutters, 
while he marks Gerard's easy seat, and the light touch with 
which one hand fingers the rein, while the other wanders 
caressingly over the horse's neck ; but his quick eye has already 
marked that the Booby's curb-chain is somewhat tight, and 
sidling up just out of kicking distance, Mr. Snipe renews his 
offer to take five to one about "his own brute," observing that 
" it is a sporting bet, for he does not really believe Lothario has 
the ghost of a chance ! " 

Gerard declines, however j alleging that he is only there to 
ride, and knows nothing about the merits of the horses, while 
he turns Booby out of the enclosure, and sends him for a "spin" 
down the course, followed by the others, with the exception of 
Mr. Snipe, who contents himself with a mild, shuffling little 
apology for a trot, that by no means enhances Lothario's 
character amongst the spectators. 

They are much more pleased with the "Booby by Idle-boy," 
who goes raking down the meadow, tossing his head, reaching 
wildly at his bridle, and giving the rider a great deal of un- 
necessary trouble to stay and keep his horse in the right place. 
Gerard handles him with great skill, and pulling up opposite 
the stand, receives yet further instructions from Captain Hughes, 
who has already got his glasses out of their case. 

8* The White Rose. 

" Don't disappo.nt him, Gerard ! " he reiterates loudly, look- 
ing round the while for the applause he considers his due. 
" Make the pace as good as you can ! Come away with him in 
front, and win as you like ! " 

Mr. Snipe here telegraphs a nod to his friend under the stand, 
and that speculator, after a few hurried words with a respectable 
farmer and an officer of the 250th, takes a pencil from his mouth 
and writes something down in a little red book. 

The Starter, a neighbouring Master of Harriers, already 
brandishes a flag in his hand. Let us go up into the stand, and 
witness the race from that convenient vantage-ground. 

A very well-dressed woman, with a black veil over her face 
so thickly doubled as to serve for a mask, is looking on with 
considerable interest, and whispering an observation from time 
to time in the ear of her cavalier — a close-shaven man, with a 
prominent red nose. She is evidently nervous, and crushes into 
illegible creases the printed card she holds in her hand. Mr. 
BrufF, on the contrary — for it is that celebrated actor who has 
taken on himself the pleasing task of attending Fanny Draper 
to the races — is minutely observant of the demeanour affected 
by those who ride. His manager meditates bringing out a piece 
of his own writing, under the title of " Fickle Fortune j or, 
the Gentleman Jockey," and Mr. Bruff cannot suffer such an 
opportunity as the present to go by unimproved. Every turn of 
Mr. Snipe's body, every inflection of his somewhat unpleasant 
voice, is a lesson for the actor in the leading character he hopes 
hereafter to assume. 

Fanny gazes at Gerard with all her eyes. There is something 
very romantic and captivating to her ill-regulated mind in the 
terms on which they stand. She is concerned in an intrigue of 
which he is the principal object ; she is living, unknown to him, 
in the same house; she is watching his actions, and, above all, 
his correspondence, every hour of the day ; and she is doing her 
best and wickedest to detach him from the woman he leves. 
There is a horrible fascination in all this, no doubt j and then, 
how well he looks in his silk jacket ! 

" He's a handsome fellow, too, isn't he, that one in green ? " 
she whispers to Mr. Bruff. " I hope he'll win, I'm sure — and I 
think he must ! " 

" He's well made-up," answers her companion, absently j 
"but he don't look the part like the quiet one. I see how it's 
done ! A meaning expression throughout ; a glance that no- 
thing escapes; a flash at intervals, but the general tone ver^ 

Wearing the Green. 85 

much kept down. It's original business. It's striking out a 
new line altogether, I think it ought to suit me !" 
Fanny turns very pale. 
" Bother ! " says she. " They're off! " 

So they are. After several false starts, occasioned I am bound 
to admit by the perverseness of Mr. Snipe, and which nearly 
drive " The Booby " mad, while they elicit much bad language 
and a threat of complaint to the Stewards from the Master of 
Harriers, who is accustomed to have things his own way, the 
four horses get off, and bound lightly over the first flight of 
hurdles, with no more interesting result than that Conspirator 
nearly unships his rider, and the jockey of Tom-tit loses his 
cap. Then, keeping pretty close together, they come round the 
far-end of the meadow at a pace more than usually merry for 
the commencement of a race, due to the violence of the 
Booby, increased by Lothario's proximity at his quarters. 

And now they reach the second leap. Tom-tit, following the 
others, jumps it like a deer, but his jockey tumbles off, and lies 
for a moment motionless, as if he was hurt. 

Fanny begins to think it dangerous, and averts her eyes. 
" Is green still leading ? " she asks in a faint voice. 
" Green still leading ! " echoes Mr. Bruff; but he is thinking 
less of the sport than of a peculiar twist in Mr. Snipe's features 
as he inspected the saddling of his horse before the start. 

And now Conspirator is also out of the race, and the struggle is 
between Lothario and The Booby as they approach the last flight 
of hurdles. Fanny cannot resist raising her head to look, but 
she is horribly frightened. Gerard gathers his horse very skilfully 
for the effort, but The Booby, besides being fractious, is also 
blown. Mr. Snipe, too, on Lothario, has now come alongside, 
and without actually jostling him, edges his own horse, who is 
in perfect command, near enough to his adversary's to discom- 
pose him very much in his take-off. The Booby, giving his head 
a frantic shake, sticks his nose in the air and refuses to be pacified. 
Gerard is only aware that his horse is out of his hand, that the 
animal has disappeared somehow between his rider's legs, that 
a green wall of turf rises perpendicularly to his face, that nose, 
mouth, and eyes are filled with a sweet, yet acrid fluid, and that 
he is swallowed up alive in a heaving, rolling, earthy, and tena- 
cious embrace. 

What Fanny saw was a shower of splintered wood flying into 
tne air, a horse's belly and girths, with four kicking legs striking 
convulsively upward, and a green jacket motionless on the sward, 

86 The White Rose. 

shut in, ere she could breathe, by a swarm of dark, shifting 
figures, increasing in an instant to a crowd. 

She was not afraid now. " Mr. Bruff! " exclaimed the girl, 
clutching his arm as in a vice, and turning on him a white face 
and a pair of shining eyes that scared even the actor, "bring 
the fly down there — quick ! He mustn't lie on the damp earth. 
Don't stop me. Before I get to him he might " 

She choked, without finishing her sentence, but she was out 
of the stand like a lapwing, while Mr. Bruff, with almost equal 
alacrity, went to fetch the fly. 

He could not but observe, however, that Mr. Snipe, returning 
to weigh after an easy victory, nodded his head to his confede- 
rate with a gesture that was worth rounds of applause. Ha 
overheard, too, a remark that accompanied the action — 

" You may bid them a hundred-and-fifty for the Booby, if 
you can't get him for less. He'd have landed it if he'd been 
properly ridden, I'll lay two to one ! " 



u It was a pity," said half the county, that Mr. Vandeleur 
" gave so little " at Oakover. Never was a place more adapted 
for out-of-door gatherings, having for their object the wearing 
of becoming dresses and the general discomfiture of the male 
sex. There were walks within half-a-mile of the house, along 
which it was impossible to stroll in safety with a fair companion 
under a summer sun. There were pheasant-houses to go and 
see, standing apart in convenient nooks and shaded recesses. 
There was a little lake, and on its surface floated a little skiff 
calculated to hold only two people at a time. Above all, there 
was the spring of ice-cold water under the hill in the deer-park, 
that was obviously a special provision of nature for the promotion 
of pic-nics. 

It is one of the last fine days of a summer that has lingered 
on into the early autumn. The blue sky is laced with strips of 
motionless white cloud. The sward is burnished and slippery 
with long-continued drought. Not a blade of arid grass, not a 
leaf of feathery, yellowing fern stirs in the warm, still, sunny 
atmosphere. Gigantic elms stand out in masses of foliage 
almost black with the luxuriance of a prime that is just upon 

" The While Witch. ' 8 J 

the turn ; and from their fastnesses the wood-pigeon pours its 
drowsy plaint — now far, now near, in all its repetitions sugges- 
tive still of touching memories, not unpleasing languor, and 
melancholy repose. The deer have retired to the farthest ex- 
tremity of their haunts, scared, it would seem, by the white legs 
of two Oakover footmen, moving under an old elm, unpacking 
sundry hampers, and laying a large tablecloth on the grass 
beneath its shade. Vandeleur understands comfort, and with 
him a pic-nic simply means the best possible cold dinner that 
can be provided by a Frenck cook, laid out by servants well 
drilled in all the minute observances of a great house. To-day 
he has a gathering of his neighbours for the express purpose of 
eating and drinking in the deer-park instead of the dining-room. 
He is coming up the hill now, walking slowly with a lady on 
his arm, and followed by a pony-carriage, a barouche, and his 
own mail-phaeton, all freighted with guests who prefer a drive 
to a half-mile walk on so broiling a day. The lady who has 
taken her host's arm for the short ascent at the end of their 
journey is dressed, as usual, in pink. Miss Tregunter has been 
told by a gentleman now present that no colour suits her so 
well. Consequently she is pink all over — pink dress, pink 
bonnet, pink ribbons, pink cheeks. " Ton my soul ! " says 
Vandeleur, " you look like a picotee ! I haven't such a flower 
in the garden. I wonder whether you d bear transplanting!" 
Miss Tregunter, conscious that such a remark, though it would 
almost amour t to an offer from anybody else, is only " Mr. 
Vandeleur's way," laughs and blushes, and puts her pretty pink 
parasol down tf hide her pretty pink face. 

Dolly Egremont, in the pony-carriage with Miss Welby, 
begins to fidget ; and Dandy Burton wishes he had put on the 
other neckcloth — the violet one. 

These two young gentlemen have nearly completed the term 
of their studies with Mr. Archer. Stimulated by Gerard's 
appointment, and fired with noble emulation, they anticipate 
the dreaded ordeal of examination next week not without 
misgivings, yet devoutly hope it may be their luck to scrape 

Miss Welby looks very pretty, not only in the eyes of her 
father behind in the barouche — and persuaded but this very 
morning, with a g. eat deal of coaxing, to join the party — but 
in the opinion of every other gentleman present ; nay, even the 
ladies, though they protest she is not "their style," cannot but 
admit that "the giil has some good points about her, and would 


68 the IVhile Rose. 

«ot be amiss if she didn't look so dreadful.y pale, and had A 
little more colouring in her dress." 

Norah does look pale, and quiet as is her costume, it shows 
more colour than her cheek. Truth to tell, Miss Welby is very 
unhappy. Day after day she has been expecting an answer from 
Gerard to her kind, playful, and affectionate letter, but day 
after day she has been disappointed. Her heart sinks when she 
reflects that he may be ill — that something dreadful may have 
happened to him, and she knows nothing about it $ worse still, 
chat he may have ceased to care for her, and what is there left 
then ? It galls and shames her to believe that he has used her 
badly ; and were he present, she might have courage to show 
she was offended ; but he is far away, and what is the use of 
pride or pique ? What is the use of anything ? It seems such 
a mockery to have the homage of every one else and to miss the 
only eye from which an admiring glance would be welcome ; 
the only voice from which one word of approval would thrill 
direct to her heart. 

■She has selected Dolly for her companion in the pony-carriage 
because she cherishes some vague idea that Gerard liked him 
better than the others j but Dolly is unworthy of his good 
fortune, having eyes at present only for Miss Tregunter, whom 
in her pink dress this young gentleman considers perfectly 

The rest of the party are paired off rather by chance than 
inclination. Dandy Burton has found himself placed side by 
side with Lady Baker, and feels thankful that their short drive 
.vill so soon be over, and he can select a more congenial com- 
panion for the rest of the afternoon. 

Vandeleur, a thorough man of the world, and when once 
started quite in his element on these occasions, believes that he 
has now paid sufficient attention to Miss Tregunter, who, being 
an heiress, is supposed to exact a little more homage than worse 
portioned damsels, and seeks for the face that has begun to haunt 
him strangely of late — in his business, in his pleasures, in his 
solitary walks, even in his dreams. That face looks pale, un- 
happy, and a little bored, so the Squire of Oakover resolves to 
bide his time He has played the game too often not to know 
its niceties, and he is well aware that if a woman feels wearied 
while in a man's society, she unreasonably connects the weari- 
ness ever afterwards with the companion, rather than the cause. 
In the two or three glances he steals at her, she seems to him 
lovelier, more interesting, more bewitching than ever. Happi- 

" The White ftitch." 89 

ness is to most faces a wonderful beautifierj but there are people 
•who look their best when they are wretched ; and Norah Welby 
is one of them. 

Vandeleur turns away to his other guests with a strange 
gnawing pain at his heart, that he never expected to feel again. 
It reminds him of the old times, twenty years ago ; and he 
laughs bitterly to think that wicked, and worn, and weary as he 
is, there should still be room in his evil breast for the sorrow 
that aches, and rankles, and festers, that according to a man's 
nature exalts him to the highest standard of good, or sinks him 
to the lowest degradation of evil. Twenty years ago, too, he 
knows he was better than he is now. Twenty years ago he 
might have sacrificed his own feelings to the happiness of a 
woman he loved. But life is short ; it is too late for such 
childishness now. 

" Burton, take off those smart gloves, and cut into the pie. 
Miss Tregunter, come a little more this way, and you will be 
out of the sun. Lady Baker, I ordered that shawl expressly for 
you to sit upon. Never mind the salad, Welby, they'll mix it 
behind the scenes. Champagne — yes ! There's claret-cup and 
Badminton, if you like it better. Mr. Egremont, I hope you 
are taking care of Miss Welby." 

Dolly, still uneasy about the pink young lady opposite, heaps 
his neighbour's plate with food, and fills her glass with cham- 
pagne. Miss Welby looks more bored than ever, and Vande- 
leur begins to fear his pic-nic will turn out a failure after all. 

The Dandy, seldom to be counted on in an emergency, 
advances, however, boldly to the rescue. He helps everybody 
round him to meat and drink. He compliments Miss Tre- 
gunter on her dress ; Miss Welby, who eats nothing, on her 
appetitej and Lady Baker, who drinks a good deal, on her 
brooch. Then it is discovered that he can spin forks on a 
champagne-cork ; and by degress people begin to get sociable, 
glasses are emptied, tongues loosened, and the deer, feeding half 
a mile off, raise their heads in astonishment at the babble of the 
human voice. 

Presently somebody wants to smoke. It is not exactly clear 
with whom this audacious proposal originates, but Dandy Burton 
declares stoutly in favour of the movement. Lady Baker, whom 
every one seems tacitly to suspect as a dissentient, has no objec- 
tion, provided her glass is once more filled with champagne. 
She even hazards an opinion that it will keep off the flies. Miss 
Tregunter would like to smoke, too, only she knows it would 

go The White Rose. 

make her head ache, and fears it might have results even more 
unpleasant than pain. By the time the cigars are well under 
way, silence seems to have settled once more upon the party, but 
it is the silence of repose and contentment, rather than of shyness 
and constraint. 

Miss Welby, awaking from a profound fit of abstraction, 
asks in a tone of injured feeling, "Why does nobody sing a 
song r 

" Why, indeed ? " says Vandeleur. " If I had ever done sucb 
a thing in my life, I would now. Miss Tregunter, I know you 
can pipe more sweetly than the nightingale — won't you strike 
up ? 

" No, I won't strike up, as you call it," answered Miss Tre- 
gunter, laughing} "my poor little pipe would be lost in this 
wilderness. Nothing but a man's voice will go down in the 
open air. Mr. Burton, I call upon you to begin." 
, But the Dandy could not sing without his music, nor, indeed, 
was he a very efficient performer at any time, although he could 
get through one or two pieces creditably enough in a room, with 
somebody who understood his voice to play the accompaniment, 
and everything else in his favour. He excused himself, there- 
fore, looking imploringly at Dolly the while. 

Miss Tregunter followed his glance. "You'll sing, I'm sure, 
Mr. Egremont," she said, rather affectionately. " I know you 
can, for everybody says so ; and it seems so odd that I should 
never have heard you ! " 

Dolly, like all stout men, had a voice. Like all stout men, 
too, he was thoroughly good-natured ; so he would probably 
have complied at any rate, but there was no resisting such an 
appeal, from such a quarter. He looked admiringly in the 
young lady's face. 

"Willingly," said he. "What shall I sing?" 
" ' Rule Britannia,' " observed Norah, listlessly, and with a 
curl of her lip, sufficiently ungrateful to the willing performer, 
" No, no," protested Miss Tregunter. " How can you, dear ?" 
" Well, ' God Save the Queen,' then," suggested Miss Welby, 
who was obviously not in a good humour. 

" That always comes at the finish," said Burton. " Don't be 
sat upon, Dolly. Put your other pipe out, and sing us the 
♦ White Witch.' " 

" Why the 'White Witch' ? " asked Vandeleur, " It sounds 
a queer name. What does it mean ?" 

"It don't mean anything," answered Doily. "It's a scn»» 

"■ The White Witch." 91 

Gerard brought down from London before he went away. He 
was always humming it — very much out of tune. He said it 
-eminded him of somebody he knew. Very likely his grand- 
mother ! " 

Norah Welby blushed scarlet, and then turned pale. Nobody 
observed her but Vandeleur ; and his own brow darkened a good 
deal. " Let us have it by all means," he said, with admirable 
self-command, at the same time stretching forward to fill his 
glass, and thus screening Miss Welby from observation. 

Dolly now struck up in a full mellow voice — 

" Have a care ! She is fair, 

The White Witch there, 
In her crystal cave, up a jewelled stair. 
She has spells for the living would waken the dead, 
And they lurk in the line of her lip so red, 
And they lurk in the turn of her delicate head, 

And the golden gleam on her hair. 

" Forbear ! Have a care 

Of her beauty so rare, 
Of the pale proud face, and the queen-like air, 
And the love-lighted glances that deepen and shine, 
And the coil of bright tresses that glisten and twine, 
And the whispers that madden — like lasses, or wine. 

Too late ! Too late to beware. 

« Never heed ! Never spare ! 

Never fear ! Never care ! 
It is better to love, it is bolder to dare. 
Lonely and longing and looking for you, 
She has woven the meshes you cannot break through, 
She has taken your heart, you may follow it too. 

Up the jewelled stair, good luck to you there ! 

In the crystal cave, with the witch so fair, 

The White Witch fond and fair." 

" A bad imitation of Tennyson," remarked Vandeleur. " But 
well sung, Mr. Egremont, for all that. I am sure we are very 
much obliged to you." 

" I know I am,' ' said Miss Tregunter ; at which Dolly looked 
extremely gratified. " I am glad I have heard you sing, and I 
should like to hear you again." 

"Its certainly pretty!" affirmed Lady Baker, drowsily. 
"What is it all about ?" 

Norah's eyes looked very deep and dark, shining out of hei 
pale face. " I should like to have that song," said she, in a low 
voice. " Mr. Egremont, will you copy it out, and se«d it me ? ' 

9* The White Rose, 

Vandeleur flung the end of his cigar away with a gesture of 
impatience, even of irritation. "Poor Ainslie!" said he, in a 
marked tone ; " I wish he hadn't left Archer's quite so soon." 

"Have you heard anything of him ?" asked Dolly, eagerly. 
"The place hasn't been the same since he went away. A 
better chap never stepped than Ainslie. I'm sure I wish he was 
back again." 

Alas ! that on this young gentleman's preoccupied heart the 
kindly glance that Norah now vouchsafed him should have been 
so completely thrown away ! 

" I've heard no good of him," answered Vandeleur, gravely. 
"Young fellows are all wild; and I'm the last man to object, 
but our friend has been doing the thing a little too unscrupu- 
lously, and I, for one, am very sorry for it." 

" He always wanted knowledge of the world," observed 
Burton, in a tone of considerable self-satisfaction. " I knew he 
would come to grief, if they let him run alone too soon." 

" I'll swear he's never done anything really wrong or dis- 
honourable!" protested Dolly, in a great heat and fuss, which 
surrounded him as with a glory in the eyes of Miss Welby. " I 
believe Gerard Ainslie to be the most perfect gentleman in the 

" I believe you to be the most perfectly good-natured fellow I 
know," answered Vandeleur, laughing. " Come, it's cooler now, 
shall we take a stroll in the Park ? By-the-bye, Miss Welby, I 
haven't forgotten my promise to show you the Rock House." 

Miss Welby's proud pale face grew prouder and paler as she 
bowed assent, and walked off with her host in the direction 
indicated. Vexed, wounded, and justly irritated, she could not 
yet resist the temptation of trying to learn something definite 
concerning Gerard Ainslie. 



" I'm bored about a friend of ours, Miss Welby," observed Van- 
deleur, preceding his guest along a narrow path through the fern, 
out of hearing by the others, and careful not to look back in her 
face. "This way, and mind those brambles don't catch in your 
pretty dress. It isn't often I allow anything to vex me, but I 

Pious Apneas. 93 

am vexed with young Ainslie. I thought him such a nice, 
straightforward, well-disposed boy; and above all, a thorough 
gentleman. It only shows how one can be deceived." 

She felt her cheek turn white and her heart stand still, but 
her courage rose at the implied imputation, and she answered 
boldly: "Whatever may be Mr. Ainslie's faults, he is the last 
person in the world I should suspect of anything false or un- 

"Exactly what I have said all along," assented Vandeleur; 
" and even now I can scarcely bring myself to believe in the 
mischief I hear about him, though I grieve to say I have my 
information from the best authority." 

She stopped short, and he turned to look at her. "Vandeleur 
had often admired a certain dignity and even haughtiness of 
bearing which was natural to JNorah. He had never seen her 
look so queen-like and defiant as now. 

"Why don't you speak out, Mr. Vandeleur?" she said, some- 
what contemptuously ; " I am not ashamed to own that I do 
take an interest in Mr. Ainslie. It would be strange if I did 
not, considering that he is a great friend of papa's, as well as 
mine. If you know anything about him, why don't you pro- 
claim it at once ? " 

He dropped his voice and came closer to her side. " Shall I 
tell you why I don't ? " said he, tenderly. "Because I'm soft; 
because I'm stupid ; because I'm an old fool. Miss Welby, I 
would rather cut my right hand off than give you a moment's 
pain ; and I know your heart is so kind and good that it would 
pain you to hear what I have learned about Gerard Ainslie." 

"You have no right to say so! " she burst out, vehemently, 
but checked herself on the instant. " I mean you cannot sup- 
pose that it would pain me more than any of his other friends to 
hear that he was doing badly. Of course, I should be very 
sorry," she added, trying to control her voice, which shook pro- 
vokingly. " Oh, Mr. Vandeleur ! after all he's very young, and 
he's got nobody to advise him. Can't you help him ? Can't 
you do something ? What is the matter ? What has he really 
been about ? " 

" I scarcely know how to tell you," he answered, shaking his 
head with an admirable assumption of consideration and forbear- 
ance. "There are certain scrapes out of which a young fellow 
may be pulled, however deeply he is immersed, if he will only 
take advice. I've been in hundreds of them myself. But this 
is a different business altogether. I've gone through the whole 

94 The White Rose. 

thing, Miss Welby. Heaven forbid you shouM ever learn one- 
tenth of the sorrows and the troubles and the evils that beset 
a man's entrance on life. I have bought my experience dearly 
enough ; — with money, with anxiety, with years of penitence 
and remorse. People will tell you that John Vandeleur has 
done everything, and been through everything, and got tired of 
everything. People will tell you a great deal about John Van- 
deleur that isn't true. Sometimes I wish it was ! Sometimes I 
wish I could be the hard, heartless, impenetrable old reprobate 
they make me out. However, that's got nothing to do with it. 
All I can say is, that even with my experience of evil I don't 
know what to advise." 

" Is it money ? " she asked ; but her very lips were white, and 
her voice sank to a whisper. 

" Far worse than that ! " he exclaimed. " If it had been only 
an affair of extravagance, it would never have come to your ears, 
you may be sure ! After all, I like the lad immensely, and I 
would have persuaded him to allow me to anange anything o( 
that kind in ten minutes. No, Miss Welby, it is not money ; 
and not being money, can you guess what it is ? " 

Of course she could guess ! Of course she had guessed long 
ago ! Of course the jealousy inseparable from love had given 
her many a painful twinge during the last half hour; and 
equally, of course, she affected innocence, ignorance, profound 
indifference, and answered never a word. 

He looked designedly away, and she was grateful for his for- 
bearance. "Not being money," he continued, "we all know it 
must be love. And yet I cannot call this unaccountable, this 
incomprehensible infatuation, by so exalted a name. I tell you 
the whole thing beats me from beginning to end. Here was 
a young man with every advantage of education and stand- 
ing and society, thrown amongst the nicest people in the neigh- 
bourhood, visiting at several of our houses, and popular with us 
all ; — a young man who, if he was like young men in general, 
ought to have been doubly and triply guarded against anything in 
the shape of folly or vice; who should have been under an in- 
fluence the most likely to iveep him pure, stainless, and unselfish; 
an influence that preserves, almost all others, even old sinners 
like myself, from the very inclination to evil. And on the 
threshold of life he casts away every advantage ; he sets pro- 
priety at defiance ; he outrages the common decencies of the 

world, and he hampers himself with Miss Welby, I ought 

cot to go on — I ought never to have begun. This is a subject 

Pious sEneas. 95 

on which it .s hardly fit for you and me to converse. See how 
well the house comes in from here; and give me yonr advice 
<ibout taking out that dwarfed oak j it hides more than half the 

She could see neither dwarfed oak nor conservatory, for her 
eyes were beginning to cloud with tears, bravely and fiercely 
kept back. But she had not reached the ordeal thus designedly 
to shrink from it at last ; and though she spoke very fast, every 
syllable was clear and distinct while she urged him to proceed. 

" Tell me the whole truth, Mr. Vandeleur, and nothing but 
the truth. I have a right to ask you. I have a right to know 

So pale, so resolute, and so delicately beautiful ! For a 
moment his heart smote him hard. For a moment he could 
have spared her, and loved her well enough to make her happy, 
but even in his admiration his lower nature, never kept down for 
years, gained the mastery, and he resolved that for her very per- 
fection she must be his own. Again he turned his head away 
and walked on in front. 

" I will tell you the truth," he said, with a world of sympathy 
and kindness in his voice. " Ainslie has been worse than foolish. 
He has been utterly dishonourable and unprincipled. He has 
taken a young girl of this neighbourhood away from her home. 
They are together at this moment. You know her, Miss 
Welby. She is old Draper's daughter, at Ripley Mill. Come 
into the Rock House, and sit down. Is it not delightfully 
cool? Wait here half a minute, and I will bring you the 
purest water you ever tasted, from the spring at the foot of those 

He was out of sight almost while he spoke, and she leaned 
her head against the cold slab which formed part of the grotto 
they had entered, feeling grateful for the physical comfort it 
afforded to sink into a seat and rest her aching temples even on a 

It was over then — all over now i Just as she suspected 
throughout, and she had been right after all. Then came the 
dull sense of relief that in its hopelessness is so much worse to 
bear than pain ; and she could tell herself that she had become 
resigned, careless, stupefied, and hard as the rock against which 
she leaned her head. When Vandeleur came back, she looked 
perfectly tranquil and composed. Impenetrable, perhaps, and 
haughtier than he had ever seen her, but for all that so calm and 
self-possessed that she deceived even him. " She cannot have 

g6 The White Rose. 

cared so much, after all," thought Vandeleur 5 " and there is a 
good chance for me still." 

He offered her some water, and she noticed the quaint fashion 
of the silver cup in his hand. 

" What a dear old goblet," she said, spelling out the device 
that girdled it in ancient characters, almost illegible. " Do you 
mean to say that you leave it littering about here ? ' ' 

He smiled meaningly. " I sent it up on purpose for you to 
drink from. There is a story about the goblet, and a story about 
the Rock House. Can you make out the motto ? " 

"Well, it's not very plain," she answered j "but give me a 
a little time. Yes. I have it — 

Spare youth, 
Have ruth, 
TeU truth. 

It sounds like nonsense. What does it mean ? " 

" It's a love story," replied Vandeleur, sitting down by her 
side, "and it's about my grandmother. Shall I tell it you ? " 

She laughed bitterly. "A love story! That must be ludi- 
crous. And about your grandmamma, Mr. Vandeleur ! I sup- 
pose, then, it's perfectly proper. Yes. You may go on." 

" She wasn't my grandmother then," said Vandeleur; "on the 
contrary, she had not long been my grandfather's wife. She was 
a good deal younger than her husband. Miss Welby, do you 
think a girl could care for a man twenty years older than her- 

She was thinking of her false love. " Why not," she asked, 
" if he was staunch and true ? " 

Vandeleur looked pleased, and went on with his story :- 

" My grandfather loved his young bride very dearly. It does 
not follow because there are lines on the forehead and silver 
streaks in the beard that the heart should have outlived its sym- 
pathies, its affections, its capability of self-sacrifice and self- 
devotion. It sounds ridiculous, I dare say, for people to talk 
about love when they are past forty, but you young ladies little 
know, Miss Welby ; you little know. However, my grand- 
father, as old a man as I am now, worshipped the very ground 
his young wife trod on, and loved her no less passionately, and 
perhaps more faithfully, than if he had been five-and-twenty. 
She was proud of Ins devotion, and she admired his character, 01 
she would not probably have married him; but her heart had 
been touched by a young cousin in the neighbourhood, — «uly 

Pious JEneas. 97 

scratched, I think, not wounded to hurt, you know, — and what- 
ever she indulged in of romance and sentiment, was associated 
with this boy's curly locks, smooth face, and frivolous, empty 
character. There is a charm in youth, Miss Welby, I fear, for 
which truth, honour, station, and the purest affection, are no 

She sighed, and shook her head. Vandeleur proceeded : — 

" My grandfather felt he was not appreciated as he deserved, 
and it cut him to the heart. But he neither endeavoured to 
force his wife's inclinations nor watched her actions. One day, 
however, taking shelter from a shower under that yew-tree, he 
heard his wife and her cousin, who had been driven to the same 
refuge, conversing on the other side. He was obliged to listen, 
though every word spoken stabbed him like a knife. It was 
evident a strong flirtation existed between them. Nothing 
worse, I am bound to believe ; for in whose propriety shall a 
man have confidence, if not in his grandmother's ? Neverthe- 
less, the hidden husband heard his wife tax her cousin with de- 
ceiving her, and the young man excused himself on the grounds 
of his false position as a lover without hope. This was so far 
satisfactory. ' And if your husband asked you whether you had 
seen me to-day, what should you answer?' demanded the cousin. 
' I should tell him the truth,' replied my grandmother. This 
was better still. The next communication was not quite so 
pleasant for the listener. His wife complained bitterly of the 
want of shelter in this, the only spot, she said, where they could 
meet without interruption 5 in rain, she protested, they must get 
drenched to the skin, and in hot weather there was not even a 
cup to drink out of from the spring. The cousin, on the other 
hand, regretted loudly that his debts would drive him from the 
country, that he must start in less than a week, and that if he 
had but two hundred pounds he would be the happiest man in 
the world. Altogether it was obvious that the spirits of this 
interesting couple fell rapidly with their prospects. 

" The rain fell too, but my grandfather was one of the first 
gentlemen of his day, and notwithstanding the ducking he got 
walked away through the heaviest of it, rather than remain for 
their leave-taking. We are a wild race, we Vandeleurs, but 
there is some little good in us if you can only get at it." 

" I am sure there is," said she, absently ; " and, at least, you 
have none of you ever failed in loyalty." 

"Thank you, Miss Welby," said Vandeleur, now radiant. 
" 'Loyal je serais d.urant ma vie !' Well, if you can stand any 

98 The White Rose. 

more about my grandmother, I will tell you exactly what hap- 
pened. It rained for three days without intermission — it some- 
times does in this country. During that period an unknown 
hand paid the cousin's debts, enabling him to remain at home 
as long as he thought proper ; and on the fourth morning, when 
the sun shone, my grandmother, taking her usual walk to the 
spring, found not only her cousin at the accustomed spot, but 
this Rock House erected to shelter her, and that silver cup ready 
to drink from, encircled, as you see it, with the motto you have 
just read. All these little matters were delicate attentions from 
a husband twenty years older than herself! " 

" He must have been a dear old thing ! " exclaimed Norah, 
vehemently. " Wasn't she delighted ? Aad didn't she grow 
awfully fond of him after all ? " 

" I don't know," answered Vandeleur, vcty gravely, and in a 
low voice that trembled a little. " But I am sure if she did not, 
he was a miserable man for his whole life. It is hard to give 
gold for silver, as many of us do ungrudgingly and by handfuls ; 
but it is harder still to offer hopes, happiness — past, present, 
future — your existence, your very soul, and find it all in vain, 
because the only woman on earth for you has wasted her price- 
less heart on an object she knows to be unworthy. She gives 
ier gold for silver — nay, for copper 5 and your diamonds she 
scorns as dross. Never mind ! Fling them down before her 
just the same ! Better that they should be trodden under foot 
by her, than set in a coronet for the brows of another ! Miss 
Welby — Norah ! that is what I call love! An old man's love, 
and therefore to be ridiculed and despised ! " 

She had shrunk away now, startled, scared by his vehemence j 
but he took her hand, and continued very gently, while he drew 
her imperceptibly towards him — 

" Forgive me, Miss Welby — Norah ! May I not call you 
Norah ? I have been hurried into a confession that I had re- 
solved not to make for months — nay, for years — perhaps not till 
too late even for the chance of reaping anything from my 
temerity. But it cannot be unsaid now. Listen. I have loved 
you very dearly for long ; so dearly that I could have yielded up 
my hopes without a murmur, had I known your affections gained 
by one really worthy of you, and could have been content with 
my own loneliness to see my idol happy. Yes, I love you madly. 
Do not draw away from me. I will never persecute you. I do 
not care what becomes of me if I can only be sure that you are 
contented. Miss Welby ! I offer all, and I ask for so liftle in 

Pious JEneas. 99 

return ! Only let irk watch over your welfare, only let me con- 
tribute to your happiness; and if you can permit me to hope, 
say so ; if not, what does it matter ? I shall always love you, 
and belong to you — like some savage old dog, who only acknow- 
ledges one owner— and y ou may kick me, or caress me, as you 

She was flattered— how could she be otherwise ? And it was 
a salve to her sore sufferii g heart to have won so entirely the- 
love of such a man — of this distinguished, well-known, expe- 
rienced Mr. Vandeleur. As a triumph to her pride, no doubt 
such a conquest was worth a whole college of juveniles; and yet, 
soothed pique, gratified vanity, budding ambition— all these are 
not love, nor are they equivalents for love. 

She knew it even at this moment ; but it would have been 
heartless, she thought — ungrateful, unfeeling — to speak harshly 
of him now. She drew her hand away ; but she answered in a 
low and rather tender voice, with a smile that did not in the 
least conceal her agitation — 

" You are very noble and very generous. I could not have 
the heart to kick you, I am sure !" 

"And I may hope? " he exclaimed, exultingly. But her face 
was now hidden, and she was crying in silence. 

He was eager for an answer. He had played the game so 
well, he might consider it fairly won. 

" One word, Miss Welby — Norah, my darling Norah ! I will 
wait any time — I will endure any trial — only tell me that it 
will come at last ! " 

" Not yet," she whispered — " not yet ! " 

And with this answer he was fain to content himself, for no 
further syllable did Miss "Welby utter the whole way down the 
hill, the whole way across the deer-park, the whole way along 
the half-mile avenue to the house. They reached it like strangers, 
they entered it at different doors, they mixed with the various 
guests as if they had not a thought nor an interest in common ; 
yet none the less did Norah Welby feel that, somehow against 
her will, she was fastened by a long and heavy chain, and that 
the other end was held by John Vandeleur, Esq , of Oakover. 

ioo The White Rose. 



Mr. Bruff never sees his fellow-lodger now. If his enthusiasrc 
for the profession impels him to impromptu rehearsals, they 
must be dependent on the good-nature of old mother Briggs, or 
the leisure moments, not easily arrested, of the hard-worked 
H'Anne! He is little impressed by female charms; for al- 
though, like actors in general, he looks of no particular age, and 
might be anything between thirty and sixty, Mr. Bruff" has 
acquired that toughness of cuticle, both without and within, 
which defends the most sensitive of us after our fiftieth birth- 
day ; and impassioned as he may appear in the character of a 
stage lover, to use his own expression, he is " adamant, sir, 
adamant to the backbone ! " in private life. Nevertheless, he 
considers the young lady he has been in the habit of meeting en 
the stairs "a very interesting party;" and presiding as he does 
to-night at a late supper, dramatic and convivial — the forerunner 
of speedy departure to another provincial theatre — he finds him- 
self thinking more than once of Fanny Draper's well-shaped 
figure, mobile features, bright eyes, and pleasant saucy smile. 
He wonders who she is, and what she is. He wonders, with 
her natural powers of mimicry, with her flexibility of voice and 
facility of expression, with her advantages of appearance and 
manner, why she does not take to the profession, and appear at 
once upon the stage. He wonders (in the interval between a 
facetious toast and a comic song) whether her residence in this 
dull provincial town is not intimately connected with the pre- 
sence of that young officer in whose accident she took such 
obvious interest ; whether it is a case of thrilling romance, fit 
subject for a stock-piece, or of mere vulgar intrigue. He won- 
ders why she has been absent from the theatre ; why she has 
returned him the orders he sent her this very afternoon ; why he 
has not met her in the street or on the stairs ; and while he 
empties his glass and clears his voice for the comic song, he 
wonders what she is doing now. 

Fanny Draper is dreaming — dreaming broad awake — buried 
in a deep, high-backed, white-covered armchair, with her eyes 
fixed on the glowing coals of a fire that she makes up from time 
to time with noiseless dexterity, stealing anxious glances the 
while towards the close-drawn curtains of a large old-fashioned 

The Girts we leave behind uf. loi 

bed. Jt is long past midnight. ITot a sound is heard outside 
in the deserted street, not a sound in Ihe sick chamber, but the 
measured ticking of a watch on the chim.iey-piece. Through- 
out the room there is every appearance of dangerous illness com- 
bated with all the appliances of medica' "kill and affectionate 
attention. There are towels baking on a screen within reach 
of the fire-glow ; layers of lint lie neatly packed and folded 01? 
squares of oil-skin ; long bandages, dexterously rolled and tied, 
wait only to be uncoiled with a touch ; two or three phials, 
marked in graduated scale, stand on the dressing-table ; a 
kettleful of water is ready to be placed on the hob ; and in a 
far off corner, escaping from the lowest drawer of the ward- 
robe, peeps out a tell-tale cloth stained and saturated with 

In that close-curtained bed lies Gerard Ainslie hovering be- 
tween life and death. He has never spoken since they lifted him 
from under his horse on the racecourse, and brought him home 
to his lodgings, a crushed, mutilated form, scarcely breathing, 
and devoid of sight or sense. Mrs. Briggs opines it is " all over 
with him, poor young man ! though while there's life there's 
hope o' coorse ! " and H'Anne has been in a chronic state of 
smuts and tears since the day of the accident. But Fanny con- 
stituted herself sick-nurse at once, and the doctor has told her 
that if the patient recovers it will be less owing to surgical skill 
than to her affectionate care and self-devotion. He had better 
have held his tongue. Poor girl ! she never broke down till 
then, but she went and cried in her own room for forty minutes 
after this outburst of professional approval. 

If he recovers ! Fanny has only lately learnt how much that 
little word means to her — how entirely her own welfare depends 
on the life of this hapless young gentleman, whom she once 
considered fair game for the enterprise of a coquette, whom she 
has been paid (how she winces with shame and pain at the 
remembrance !) — yes, paid to captivate and allure ! It was a 
dangerous game ; it was played with edged tools ; and not till 
too late for salve or plaster did the miller's daughter find out 
that sne had cut her own fingers to the bone. Now all she 
prizes and loves in the world lies senseless there within those 
close-drawn curtains j and her wilful heart has ceased beating 
more than once when, listening for the only sign of life the 
sufferer displayed, she fancied his breathing had stopped, and all 
was over. 

To-day, however, there seemed to bo a slight improvement, 

i o» The White Rose. 

though imperceptible, save to the eye of science. The doctor's 
face (and be sure it was eagerly watched) had looked a shade 
less solemn, a thought more anxious. He was coming earlier, 
too, than usual on the morrow. And had he not said once 
before that any change would be for the better ? Surely it is a 
good omen. For the first time since she has taken possession 
of that deep armchair by the fire in the sick chamber, Fanny 
suffers her thoughts to wander, and her spirit to lose itself in 

She reviews her life since she has been here — the new exist- 
ence, brightened by the new feeling which has taken possession 
of her, body and soul. Thanks to Mr. BrufFs kindness, she has 
been often to the theatre ; and according to her natural ten- 
dencies, has derived considerable gratification from her visits. 
In the two or three pieces she has witnessed she can remember 
every character, almost every line of every part. It seems so 
foolish, and yet so natural, to identify the hero with Gerard, the 
heroine with herself. When Mr. BrufF, as Rinaldo, in a black 
wig, a black belt, a pair of black boots, black moustaches, and 
enormous black eyebrows, declared his love to Helena, no people 
could be more different than that hoarse tragedian and slim, 
soft-spoken Gerard Ainslie. Yet it seems to her now that she 
was Helena, and Rinaldo was the young officer. When Bernard, 
in the Brigand's Bride, stuck a lighted candle into a barrel of 
gunpowder (ingeniously represented by a bushel of dirty flour), 
and dared his ruffian band, who " quailed," to use his own words, 
" before their captain's eye," to remain in circle round these 
combustibles, and thus vindicate the claims of the boldest to the 
best of the spoil — in this case consisting of the golden-haired 
Volante, a princess in her own right, incurably in love with 
Bernard, of whom she was supposed to know nothing but that 
he had set her father's castle on fire, and carried her off by main 
force as his captive j — why, I ask, should Fanny Draper have 
longed to be placed in so false, not to say so perilous a position, 
if only to be delivered in the same uncomfortable manner by 
her own ideal of a lawless brigand, carried out in the character 
of an ensign belonging to a marching regiment, lately joined, 
and not yet perfect in his drill ? Why, indeed ! except that 
Fanny had fallen in love,and was mistress neither of her thoughts, 
her feelings, nor her actions. 

Had it been otherwise, she feels she might have done good 
business since she came to this obscure country town. She might 
have bettered her position, and, for a person of her station, made 

The Girls we leave lehind w. 103 

no small progress up the social ladder, in all honour and honesty. 
Not only on the stage has she lately witnessed scenes of love- 
making and courtship. 

Fixing her eyes on the gloomy coals, she beholds again a drama 
in which but very lately she enacted a real and an important 
part. She is walking down the High Street once more, in a 
grey silk dress, with a quiet bonnet, and lavender gloves, and a 
get-up that she is well aware combines the good taste of the 
lady with the attractions of the coquette. She is overtaken by 
Captain Hughes, who professes a surprise thus to meet her j the 
more remarkable that at the close of their last interview some- 
thing very like a tacit agreement provided for their next to be 
held in this very spot. He asks leave, demurely enough, to 
accompany her part of the way during her walk ; and when she 
accords permission, she is somewhat startled to find the captain's 
usual flow of conversation has completely failed him, and he 
seems to have discovered something of engrossing interest in the 
knot that fastens his sash. As the experienced fisherman feels 
\nstinctively the rise before he strikes, Fanny is as sure she has 
hooked her captain as if he was gasping at her feet ; and is not 
the least surprised when he does speak, that his voice comes thick 
and hoarse like that of a man in liquor, or in love. 

He tells her the day is fine, the weather is altered for the 
better ; that there is no parade at the barracks to-morrow ; that 
the depot is about to change its quarters ; that, for himself, he 
expects his orders to join the service-companies forthwith j and 
then — he stops, clears his throat, and looks like an idiot ! 

" It's coming," thinks Miss Draper ; but she won't help him, 
and he has recourse to his sash once more. 

At last he gives a great gulp, and asks her to accompany him. 

" He has watched her ever since she came. He has admired 
her from the first. He never saw such a girl before. She is 
exactly the sort he likes. He wishes he was good enough for 
her Many women have thought him good enough for any- 
thing; many, he is afraid, good for nothing ! What does she 
think ? He cannot live without her. It would break his heart 
never to see her again. He is going away. Will she accom- 
pany him ? " 

And Fanny, who through all the struggles and agitation of the 
fish preserves the sang-froid of the fisherman, answers demurely 
that "she knows what gentlemen are, and that no power on 
earth should induce her to accompany any man one step on his 
journey through life, whatever his attractions might be or her 


1.04 The White Rose. 

own feelings (for women were very weak, tou know), except 

as his wife." 

" As my wife of course ! " gasped the captain, prepared to pay 
the highest price for indulgence of his whim, and meaning, at 
the moment, honestly enough, what he proposes. 

Miss Draper having now got what she wants — a real offer 
from a real gentleman — considers she has attained a sufficient 
social triumph, and prepares to back out of the position with as 
little offence as possible to the self-love of her admirer. 

" It might have been once," she says, shaking her head, and 
shooting a look at him from under her eyelashes, of which she 
nas often calculated the exact power at the same range — " it can 
never be now ; at least, it would have to be a long while first. 
I won't talk about my own feelings" (Miss Draper always lets 
her lovers down very easy), " and I'm sure I'll try to spare yours. 
Good-bye, captain ! I shall often think of you ; and you and I 
will always be the best of friends, won't we ?" 

" Always ! " exclaims the captain 5 and seizing her hand, presses 

it to his lips. 


At this stage of her reflections the waning fire, on which she 
gazes, falls in with a crash ; but it fails to disturb the invalid j 
neither is it that sudden noise which causes Miss Draper to start 
as if she was stung, and turn to the bed with her eyes full of 
tears, murmuring — 

" I couldn't, I couldn't, my darling ! and you lying there ! 
Oh, spare him ! spare him ! If he would only get well — if he 
would only get well ! " 

Then she makes up the fire cautiously, so as not to wake him, 
wondering with a shiver if he will ever wake again, and goes 
down on her knees by the armchair, burying her face in her 

Not for long, though. Already the grey dawn is stealing 
through the half-closed shutters ; already the day has come 
which the doctor more than hinted would decide his fate. 
Hark ! what is that ? A strain of music, borne on the chill 
morning breeze even to the watcher's ears. She frowns impa- 
tiently, and moving swiftly to the window, closes the shutters 
with a careful hand. 

" Beasts ! they might wake him ! " she mutters below her 

Alas ! poor Captain Hughes ! Not a twinge of regret does 
ghe acknowledge for your departure ; not a thought does she 

For Better. 105 

waste on yourself and your brother officers. Not a moment 
does she linger to listen to its band, though the depot of the 
250th Regiment is marching off for good-and-all to the tune 0/ 
" The Girls we leave behind us 1 " 



" Happy," says the proverb, " is the wedding that the sun shines 
on." This is probably as true as most other proverbs. No doubt 
the sun shone bright over the park and grounds at Oakover on 
the morning which was to see John Vandeleur for the second 
time a bridegroom. Everything, including the old housekeeper 
fifty years in the family, smiled auspiciously on the event. The 
lawns had been fresh mown, the gravel rolled smooth, the very 
flowers in the garden seemed to have summoned the brightest 
autumn tints they could afford, to do honour to the occasion. 
The servants of course were in new and gorgeous attire, the men 
rejoicing in a period of irregular work and unlimited beer, the 
women jubilant in that savage glee with which our natural 
enemies celebrate every fresh victory gained over constituted 
authority. Their very ribbons, dazzling and bran new, quivered 
with a triumph almost hysterical in its rapture; and from the 
housekeeper before mentioned, sixty years of age and weighing 
sixteen stone, to the under-scullery-maid, not yet confirmed, one 
might have supposed them about to be married to the men of 
their choice on the spot, one and all. 

Stock jokes, good wishes, hopeful forebodings, were rife in 
Ire household; and John Vandeleur, shaving in his dressing- 
room, looked from his own worn face in the glass, to the keen 
edge of his razor, with a grim, unearthly smile. 

" Would it not be better," he muttered — " better both for her 
and for me ? What right have I to expect that this venture should 
succeed when all the others failed? And yet — I don't think I 
ever cared for any of them as I do for this girl — except perhaps 
Margaret — poor, gentle, loving Margaret ! and I had to lay her 
in her grave! No, I could not stand such another 'facer' as 
that. If I thought I must go through such a day's work again, 
I'd get out of it all — now, this moment, with a turn of the 
wrist and a minute's choke like a fellow gargling for a sore 

rod The White Rose. 

throat ' How surprised they'd all be ! That ass of a valet of 
mine, i'll lay two to one he'd strop my razor before he gave 
the alarm. And those pretty bridesmaids, with their turquoise 
lockets! And old Welby — gentlemanlike old fellow, Welby^. 
It wouldn't astonish him so much : he was one of us once. 
And poor Norah ! She'd get over it though, and marry Gerard 
Ainslie after all. Not if I know it ! No, no, my boy ! I'm 
not going to throw the game into your hands like that ! If I 
was but fifteen years younger, or even ten, I'd hold my own 
wi'h any of you ! All, there was a time when John Vandeleur 
could run most of you at even weights for the Ladies' Plate ; 
and now, I don't believe she half cares for me ! While I — blast 
me for an old fool ! — I love the very gloves she wears ! There's 
one of them in that drawer now ! She might do what she liked 
with me. I could be a better man with her — I know I've got it 
in me. How happy we might be together ! Haven't I every- 
thing in the world women like to possess ? And what sort of 
a use have I made of my advantages ? I've had a deal of fun, 
to be sure} but hang me if I'd do the same again! I should 
like to turn over a new leaf on my wedding-morning. Some 
fellows would go down on their knees and pray. I wish I 
could ! " 

Why didn't he? why couldn't he? It would have been his 
only chance, and he let it slip. He finished dressing instead, 
and went down-stairs to inspect the preparations for his bride's 
welcome when she came home. Except when he swore at the 
groom of the chambers about some flower-vases, the servants 
thought he was in high good humour ; and the upper-housemaid 
■ — a tall person of experience, who had refused several offers — 
considered him not a day too old for a bridegroom. 

The wedding was to take place at Marston, and the breakfast 
to be given ia the Rectory by the bride's father, who was to 
officiate at the altar, and offer up his daughter like a second 
Agamemnon : the simile was his own. Afterwards the happy 
couple were to proceed at once to Oakover, there to spend their 
honeymoon and remain during the winter. This last was an 
arrangement of Vandeleur' s, who, having been married before, 
was alive to the discomfort of a continental trip for two people 
whose acquaintance is, after all, none of the most intimate, and 
to whom the privacy and comfort of a home seem almost indis- 
pensable. He had earned his experience, and determined to 
profit by it. This, you will observe, young ladies, is one of the 
advantages of marrying a widower. 

For tidier. 107 

It is needless to relate that at the wedding-breaktast were 
congregated the smartest and best-dressed people of the neigh- 
bourhood. Even those who had hitherto disapproved of his 
goings-on, and kept aloof from his society, were too glad to 
welcome a man of M r. Vandeleur's acres and position back into 
the fold of respectability. There is joy even on earth over a 
repentant sinner, provided that lie leaves off bachelor-ways, 
opens his house, gives solemn dinners, and breaks out with an 
occasional ball ! 

Lady Baker was triumphant. " She had always said trore was 
a deal of good in Vandeleur, that only wanted bringing out. Wild 
oats, my dear ! Well, young men will sow them plentifully, you 
know j and neither Newmarket nor Paris are what you can call 
rood schools. Poor Sir Philip always said so, and he was a thorough 
/enn of the world — a thorough man of the world, my dear ; and 
liked Mr. Vandeleur, what he knew of him, very much. To be 
sxire they never met but twice. Ah ! there was twenty years' 
difference between him and me, and I dare say there's more 
between this couple. Well, I always think a wife should be 
younger than her husband. And she's sweetly pretty, isn't she, 
Jane? Though I can't say I like the shape of her wreath, and 
I nev<.r saw anybody look so deadly pale in my life." 

Thus Lady Baker to her next neighbour at the wedding- 
breakfast, Miss Tregunter, looking very fresh and wholesome in 
white and blue, with the sweetest turquoise-locket (Mr. Vande- 
leur had eight of them made for the eight bridesmaids) that 
ever rose and fell on the soft bosom of one of these pretty 
officials iw.ttached. Miss Tregunter, knowing she is in her 
best looks, has but one regret, that she is not dressed in pink, 
for she sits next to Dolly Egremont. 

This young gentleman is in the highest possible state of 
health and spirits. He has been up for his examination, and 
failed to pass ; which, however, does not in the least affect his 
peace of mind, as he entertains no intention of trying again. 
He and Burton, who has been more fortunate, and is about to 
be gazetted to a commission in the Household Troops at once, 
have come to pay their old tutor a visit expressly for the 
wedding. They consider themselves gentlemen-at-large now, 
and finished men of the world. Carrying out this idea, they 
assume an air of proprietorship in their relation with the 
young ladies of the party, which, though inexpressibly offen- 
sive to its male portion, is tolerated with considerable forbear- 
ance, and even approval, by the fairer guests, especially the 

lo8 The White Rose. 

bridesmaids. That distinguished body has behaved with the 
greatest steadiness at church, earning unqualified approval from 
the most competent judges, such as clerk and sexton, by its 
fixed attention to the Marriage Service, no less than from the 
fascinating uniformity of its appearance and the perfection of its 
drill. It is now, to a certain extent, broken up and scattered 
about ; for its duties as a disciplined force are nearly over, and 
each of its rank-and-file relapses naturally into her normal state 
of private warfare and individual aggression on the common 

Miss Tregunter, placed between Dolly Egremont and Dandy 
Burton, with white soup in her plate and champagne in her 
glass, is a fair specimen of the rest. 

"Isn't she lovely?" whispers this young lady, as in duty 
bound, glancing at the bride, and arranging her napkin care- 
fully over her blue and white draperies. 

Dolly steals a look at Norah, sitting pale and stately at the 
cross-table between her father and her husband. He cannot 
help thinking of Gerard's favourite song, and that reminds him 
of Gerard. A twinge takes his honest heart, while he reflects 
that he would not like to see Miss Tregunter in a wreath of 
orange-blossoms sitting by anybody but himself ; and that per- 
haps poor Ainslie would be very unhappy if he were here. 
But this is no time for sadness. Glasses are jingling, plates 
clattering, servants hurrying about, and tongues wagging with 
that enforced merriment which is so obvious at all entertain- 
ments of a like nature. We gild our wedding-feasts with 
splendour, we smother them in flowers, and swamp them in 
wine 5 yet, somehow, though the Death's head is necessarily a 
guest at all our banquets, we are never so conscious of his presence 
as on these special occasions of festivity and rejoicing 

"Wants a little more colour to be perfection," answers 
cunning Dolly, with a glance into his companion's rosy face 
"I don't admire your sickly beauties — 'Quenched in the chaste 
beams of the watery moon ; Whitewash I never condescend to 
spoon.' Ain't I romantic, Miss Tregunter, and poetical?" 

"Ain't you a goose!" answers the bridesmaid, laughing. 
"And I don't believe you know what you do admire! " 

" I admire blue and white, with a turquoise-locket," inter 
poses Dandy Burton from the other side. He too entertains a 
vague and undefined penchant for Miss Tregunter, who is an 

"Well, you're in luck !" answers the voung lady, "for you've 

Por faettei. 169 

eight of us to stare at. Hush ! Mr. Weiby *s going to speak. I 
hope he won't break down." 

Then there is a great deal of knocking of knife-handles on 
the table, and murmurs of "Hear, hear;" while all the faces 
turn with one movement, as if pulled by a string, towards 
Mr. Welby, who is standing up, almost as pale as his daughter, 
and whose thin hands tremble so that he can scarcely steady 
them against the fork with which he is scoring marks on the 
white cloth. 

He calls on his guests to fill their glasses. The gentlemen 
help the ladies with a good deal of simpering on both sides. A 
coachman acting footman breaks a trifle-dish, and stands aghast 
at his own awkwardness. But notwithstanding this diversion, 
everybody's attention is again fastened on poor Mr. Welby, who 
shakes more and more. 

"I have a toast to propose," he says; and everybody repeats, 
"Hear! hear!" "A toast you will all drink heartily, I am 
sure. There are some subjects on which the dullest man cannot 
help being eloquent. Some on which the most eloquent must 
break down. 1 ought not to be afraid of my own voice. I 
have heard it once a week for a good many years ; but now I 
cannot say half I meai., and I feel you will expect no long 
sermon from me to-day. I have just confided to my oldesf 
friend the earthly happiness of my only child. You all know 
him, and I need not enlarge upon his popularity, his talents, 
his social successes, and his worth. Why should I tell you my 
opinion of him ? Have I not an hour ago, in the discharge of 
my sacred office as a priest, and with such blessings as only a 
father's heart can call down, given him the very apple of mine 
eye, the light of my lonely home. May she be as precious to 
him as she has been to me!" Here Mr. Welby's own voice 
ecame very hoarse ; and noses were blown at intervals, down 
each side of the table. "Of her? What shall I say of her?" 
His accents were low and broken now, while he only got each 
sentence out with difficulty, bit by bit. "Why, — that if she 
proves but half as good a wife to him — as she has been — a 
daughter to me — he may thank God every night and morning 
rom a full heart, for the happiness of his lot. I call upon 
you to drink the healths of Mr. and Mrs. Vandeleur." 

How all the guests nodded and drank and cheered till the 
very blossoms shook on the wedding-cake, and their voices 
failed ! Only Dolly forgot to nod or drink or cheer, so eagerly 
was his attention fixed upon the bride 

Iio The White Rose. 

Brave Norah never looked at her father, never looked at her 
husband, never looked up from her plate, nor moved a muscle 
of her countenance, but sat still and solemn and gra\e, like a 
beautiful statue. Only when the speaker's feelings got the 
better of him large tears welled up slowly, slowly, into her 
eyes, and dropped one by one on the bouquet that lay in her 
lap. Dolly could have cried too, for that silent, sad, unearthly 
quietude seemed to him more piteous, more touching, than any 
amount of flurry and tears and hysterical laughter and natural 

In talking it over afterwards, people only protested "how 
beautifully Mr. Vandeleur had behaved!" And no doubt that 
accomplished gentleman said and did exactly the right thing 
at the moment and under the circumstances. A felon in 
the dock is hardly in a more false position than a bridegroom 
at his own wedding-breakfast. He feels, indeed, very much as 
if he had stolen something, and everybody knew he was the 
thief. I appeal to all those who have experienced the trial, 
whether it does not demand an extreme of tact and courage to 
avoid masking the prostration and despondency under which a 
man cannot but labour in such a predicament, by an ill-timed 
flippancy which everybody in the room feels to be impertinence 
of the worst possible taste. 

Mr. Vandeleur, though he never liked to look a single indi- 
vidual in the face, had no shyness on an occasion like the present. 
He was well dressed, well got-up, in good spirits, and felt that 
he had gained at least ten years on old Time to-day. He 
glanced proudly down on his bride, kindly and respectfully at 
her father, pleasantly round on the assembled guests; touched 
frankly and cordially on the good-will these displayed; alluded 
feelingly to Mr. Welby's affection for his daughter; neither 
said too much nor too little about his own sentiments; humbly 
hoped he might prove worthy of the blessing he should strive 
hard to deserve; and ended by calling on Dandy Burton, as 
the youngest man present — or, at all events, the one with the 
smartest neckcloth — to propose the health of the bridesmaids. 

It was a good speech, — everybody said so ; good feeling, good 
taste, neither too grave nor too gay. Everybody except Burton, 
who found himself in an unexpected fix, from which there 
could be no escape. The Dandy was not shy, but for tho 
space of at least five minutes he wished himself a hundred miles 
off. Neither did Miss Tregunter help him in the least. On the 
contrary, she looked up at him when he rose, with a comic amaze- 

For Belter. 1 1 J 

merit and unfeeling derision in her rosy face, which it was well 
calculated to express, but which confused him worse and worse. 

So he fingered his glass, and shifted from one lep- to the 
other, and hemmed and hawed, and at last got out his desire 
" to propose the health of the bridesmaids — whose dresses had 
been the admiration of the beholders ; who, one and all, were 
oniy second in beauty to the bride ; and who had performed 
iheir part so well. He was quite sure he expressed the feelings 
of every one present in hoping to see them act equally creditably 
at no distant date on a similar occasion ;" and so sat down in a 
state of intense confusion, under the scowls of the young ladies, 
the good-natured silence of the gentlemen, and an audible whisper 
from Miss Tregunter, that " she never heard anybody make such 
a mess of anything in her life ! " 

Somebody must return thanks for the bridesmaids; and a 
whisper creeping round the tables soon rose to a shout of " Mr. 
Egremont ! Mr. Egremont ! Go it, Dolly ! Speak up ! It's 
all in your line! No quotations!" It brought Dolly to his 
legs ; and he endeavoured to respond with the amount of merri- 
ment and facetiousness required. But no; it would not come. 
That pale face with the slowly-dripping tears still haunted him ; 
and whilst he could fix his thoughts on nothing else, he dared 
not look again in the direction of the bride. He blundered, 
indeed, through a few of the usual empty phrases and vapid 
compliments. He identified himself with the bundle of beauty 
for which he spoke ; he only regretted not being a bridesmaid, 
because if he were, he could never possibly be a bridegroom. He 
lamented, like a hypocrite, as Miss Tregunter well knew, the 
difficulty of choosing from so dazzling an assemblage, and con- 
cluded by thanking Burton, in the name of the young ladies 
he represented, for his good wishes on future occasions of a 
similar nature, but suggested that perhaps if they came to the 
altar " one at a time, it would last the longer, and might prove 
a more interesting ceremony to each." 

Still Dolly's heart was heavy ; and misgivings of evil, such as 
he had never entertained before, clouded his genial humour, and 
almost brought the tears to his eyes. Even when the " happy 
couple" drove off, and he threw an old thoe for luck after their 
carriage, something seemed to check his outstretched arm, some- 
thing seemed to whisper in his ear, that for all the bright sunshine 
and the smiling sky a dark cloud lowered over the pale proud head 
of the beautiful bride; and that for Norah Vandeleur ancient 
customs, kindly superstitions, and good wishes, were all in vain. 

iis The White Ron. 



Mr. Bruff was a kind-hearted fellow. To their credit be ft 
spoken, actors and actresses, although so familiar with fictitious 
sorrow and excitement, are of all people the most sensitive to 
cases of real distress. Many a morning had Mr ErufF waited 
anxiously for Mrs. Briggs, to hear her report of the young 
officer's health ; and at last, when that worthy woman informed 
him, with a radiant face, that f he patient was what she called 
'on the turn," he snook both her hands with such vehemence 
that she felt persuaded she had made a conquest, and began to 
reflect on the prudence of marrying again, being well-to-do in 
the world, and not much past fifty years of age. She had, how- 
ever, many other matters on her mind just at present. From 
the time Gerard recovered consciousness, Fanny was never ir 
his room except while he slept, though she continually pervaded 
the passage, poor girl, with a pale face, and eager, anxious eyes. 
On Mrs. Briggs, therefore, devolved the nursing of the invalid 
a duty she undertook with extreme good-will and that energy 
which seldom deserts a woman who is continually cleaning her 
own house, and " tidying-up," both above stairs and below. 

She wished, though, she had put on a smarter cap, when 
Mr. BrufF tapped at the door, to present his compliments, with 
kind inquiries, good wishes, and yesterday's paper — not very 
clean, and tainted by tobacco-smoke, but calculated, neverthe- 
less, to enliven the leisure of an invalid in an armchair. 

Gerard was this morning out of bed for the first time. 
Mrs. Briggs had got him up ; had washed, dressed, and would 
even have shaved him, bpi that the young chin could well 
dispense with such attention. No contrast could be much 
greater than that of the wan, delicate, emaciated invalid by the 
fire, and the square, black-browed, rough-looking, red-nosed 
sympathiser in the passage. 

Mrs. Briggs, with her sleeves tucked up, and apron girded 
round her waist, kept the door ajar, and so held converse with the 
visitor, while she would not permit him to come in. "To-morrow, 
Mr. BrufF," said she, graciously, "or the day after, according 
as the doctor thinks well. You ve a good heart of your own, 
though you don't look it ! And he thanks you kindly, does my 
poor young gentleman, for he's dozing beautiful now, and so do 

For Wtfise. 1 1$ 

I}" slamming the door thereafter in his face, and returning 
with the newspaper to her charge. "And you may thank 
heaven on your knees, my dear," continued the landlady, who 
liked to improve an occasion, and was never averse to hear her- 
self talk, " as you're sitting alive and upright in that there 
cheer this blessed day. You may thank heaven, and the young 
woman upstairs, as was with you when they brought you in, 
and never left you, my dear, day and night, till you took your 
turn, no more nor if she'd been your sister or your sweetheart !'\ 

"What ? I've been very bad, have I ? " asked Gerard, still a 
good deal confused, and conscious chiefly of great weakness and 
a languor not wholly unpleasant. 

" Bad !" echoed Mrs. Briggs. "It's deaths-door as you've 
been nigh, my dear, to the very scraper. And when we'd all 
lost heart, and even Doctor Driver looked as black as night, and 
shook his head solemn, it was only the young woman upstairs as 
kep' us up, for we can't spare him, says she, an we won't, as 
pale as death, an as fixed as fate. An' Doctor Driver says, says 
he, ' If ever a young gentleman was kep' alive by careful nursing, 
why, my dear, it was your own self, through this last ten days, 
sa' that's the girl as done it !' " 

"Where is she?" exclaimed Gerard, eagerly, and with a 
changing colour, that showed how weak he was. " I've never 
thanked her. Can't I see her at once ? What a brute she must 
think me ! " 

" Patience, my dear," said motherly Mrs. Briggs. " It isn't 
likely as the young woman would come in now you re so much 
better, till you was up and dressed. But if you'll promise to 
take your chicken-broth like a good young gentleman, why I 
dare say as the young woman will bring it up for you. And I 
must go and see about it now, this minute, for I dursn't trust 
H'Anne. So you take a look of your paper there, and keep 
your mind easy, my dear, for you're getting better nicely now ; 
though it's good food and good nursing as you require, and good 
food and good nursing I'll take care as you get." 

So Mrs. Briggs scuttled off to her own especial department 
below-stairs, pleased with the notion that a touching little 
romance was going on in her humble dwelling, fostered by the 
combined influences of convalescence, contiguity, and chicken- 
broth. She felt favourably disposed towards her invalid, towards 
his nurse, towards Mr. BrufF, towards the world in general, — ■ 
even towards the negligent and constantly erring H'Anne. 

Gerard, left alone, tried, of course, to walk across the room 

i 14 The White Rose. 

and was surprised to find that he could not so much as stand 
without holding by the table. Even after so trifling an exertion 
he was glad to return to his chair, and sank back to reed his 
newspaper, with a sigh of extreme contentment and repose. 

Its columns seemed to recall at once that world which had so 
nearly slipped away. He skipped the leading article, indeed, 
but would probably have missed it had he been in high health, 
and proceeded to those lighter subjects which it required little 
mental effort to master or comprehend. He read a couple of 
police reports and a divorce case ; learned that a scientific gen- 
tleman had propounded a new theory about aerolites ; and tried 
to realise a distressing accident (nine lives lost) on the Mersey. 
Then he rested a little, plunged into a more comfortable atti- 
tude, and turned the sheet for a look at the other side. 

There was half a column of births, deaths, and marriages, and 
he was languidly pitying Felix Bunney, Esq., of The Warren, 
whose lady had produced twins, when, casting his eye a little 
lower down, he read the following announcement : — " On the 

— instant, at Marston Rectory, shire, by t he Reverend 

William Welby, father of the bride, Leonora, only daughter of 
the above, to John Vandeleur, Esq., of Oakover, in the same 

county, and Square, London, S.W " His head swam. 

That was bodily weakness, of course ! But though the printed 
letters danced up and down the paper, he made an effort, and 
read it over carefully, word by word, once more. His first feel- 
ing, strange to say, was of astonishment that he could bear the 
blow so well ; that he was not stunned, prostrated, driven mad 
outright! Perhaps his very weakness was in his favour ; per- 
haps the extreme bodily lassitude to which he was reduced de- 
prived him of the power to suffer intensely, and the poor bruised 
reed bent under a blast that would have crushed some thriving 
standard plant cruelly to the earth. He realised the whole scene 
of the wedding, though its figures wavered before his eyes like 
a dream. He could see the grave father and priest in his long, 
sweeping vesture ; the manly, confident face of Mr. Vandeleur, 
with its smile of triumph ; the bonny bridesmaids circling round 
the altar 3 and Norah, pale, stately, beautiful, with that fatal 
wreath on her fair young brow, and her transparent veil floating 
like a mist about the glorious form that lie had hoped against 
hope some day to make his own. Fool ! fool ! could he blame 
her ? What right had he to suppose she was to waste her youth 
and beauty on a chance, and wait years for him ? He ought to 
have known it. He ought to have expected it. But it was hard 

For Worse. u.? 

to bear. Hard, hard, to bear ! Particularly now ! Then ha 
loaned his head on the table, and wept freely — bitterly. Poor 
fellow ! he was weakened, you see, by illness, and not himself, 
or he would surely never have given way like this. After a while 
he rallied, for the lad did not want courage, and, weak as he was, 
summoned up pride to help him. I think it hurt him then more 
than at first. Presently he grew angry, as men often do when 
very sorrowful, and turned fiercely against the love he had so 
cherished for months, vowing that it was all feverish folly and 
illusion, a boy's malady, that must be got over and done with 
before he enters on a man's work. He ought to have known 
the truth long ago. He had read of such things in his Ovid, in 
his Lempriere, in Thackeray's biting pages, clandestinely devoured 
at study-hours, beneath a volume of Whewell's Dynamics, or 
Gibbon's Roman Empire. Varium et mutabile seemed the verdict 
alike of Latin love-poet and classical referee j while the English 
novelist, whose sentiments so strangely influence both young 
and old, spoke of the subject with a grim pity, half in sorrow, 
half in anger, excusing with quaint phrases and pathetic humour 
the inconstancy of her whose very nature it is to be fascinated 
by novelty and subject to the influence of change. 

" I suppose women are all so ! " concluded the invalid, with 
a sigh ; and then he remembered Mother Briggs's account of his 
accident, and his illness ; of the nurse that had tended him so 
indefatigably and so devotedly ; wondering who she was, and 
what she was, when he was likely to see her, whether she was 
pretty, and why she was there. 

Notwithstanding all this, he began to read over the paragraph 
about the wedding once again, when there came a tap, and the 
bump of a tray against his door. The chicken-broth now made 
its appearance, flanked by long strips of toast, and borne by a 
comely young woman quietly dressed, whom he recognised at 
once as his former fishing acquaintance, Miss Draper, of Ripley 

Fanny's beauty, always of the florid order, had not suffered 
from watching and anxiety. On the contrary, it appeared more 
refined and delicate than of old; nor, though she had been very 
pale in the passage, was there any want of colour in her face 
while she set down the tray. Never in her life had she blushed 
so scarlet, never trembled and turned away before from the face 
of man. 

He half rose, in natural courtesy, but his knees would not 
keep straight, and he was fain to sit down again. She came 

u6 The White Rose, 

round behind him, and busied herself in setting the pillows of 

his chair. 

'' Miss Draper/' he began, trying to turn and look her in the 
face, " what must you think of me ? Never to have recognised 
you ! Never to have thanked you ! I only heard to-day of all 
your kindness ; and till you came in this moment, I had not 
found out who it was that nursed me. I must have been very 
ill indeed not to know you." 

Weak and faint as it came, it was the same voice that so won 
on her that soft summer's day when the Mayfly was on Ripley- 
water. It was t he same kindly, gentle, high-bred manner that 
acted on the low-born woman like a charm. 

"You have been very ill, sir," she murmured, still keeping 
behind him. " You frightened us all for a day or two. It's 
heaven's mercy you came through." 

He sighed. Was he thinking that for him it would have been 
more merciful never to have recovered a consciousness that only 
made him vulnerable ? Better to have been carried down the 
lodging-house stairs in his coffin, than to walk out on his feet, 
with the knowledge that Norah Vandeleur was lost to him for 
ever ! But he could not be ungrateful, and his voice trembled 
with real feeling, while he said, " It is not only heaven's mercy, 
but your care, that has saved me. You must not think I don't 
feel it. It seems so absurd for a fellow not to be able to stand 
up. I — I can't say half as much as I should like." 

Still behind him, still careful that he should not see her face, 
though there were no blushes to hide now. Indeed she had 
grown very pale again. Her voice, too, was none of the steadiest, 
while she assumed the nurse's authority once more, and bade 
him begin on his chicken-broth without delay. 

" I know it's good," said she, " for I helped to make it. Both 
Mrs. Briggs and Doctor Driver say you must have plenty of 
nourishment. Hadn't you better eat it before it's cold ? " 

Convalescence in early manhood means the hunger of the 
wolf. He obeyed at once ; and Fanny, fairly turning her back 
on him, looked steadfastly out of the window. 

I do not know why there should be less romance in the con- 
sumption of chicken-broth by an Infantry ensign than in the 
cutting of bread and butter by a German maiden, with blud 
eyes, flaxen hair, and well-developed form. It all depends upon 
the accessories. I am not sure but that on reflection most of 
us would be forced to admit that the tenderest moments of our 
lives are connected in some manner with the act of eating and 

Poi Worse. 117 

drinking. Of all ways to the heart, the shortest seems, perhaps, 
to be down the throat. In the higher classes, what a deal of 
love-making is carried on at dinner parties, picnics, above all, 
ball-suppers. In the middle, a suitor never feels that he is pro- 
gressing satisfactorily till he is asked to tea; and in the lower, 
although bread and cheese as well as bacon may prove non- 
conductors, a good deal of business, no doubt, is done through 
the agency of beer ! " Venus perishes," says the Latin proverb, 
" without the assistance of Bacchus and Ceres." Nor, although 
I am far from disputing that love-fits may be contracted so violent 
as to prove incurable even by starvation, have I any doubt that 
the disease is more fatal to a full man than one fasting. In other 
words, that few admirers, if any, are so attentive, so plastic, so 
playful, altogether so agreeable, before breakfast as after dinner. 

Gerard finished every crumb of his toast and every drop of his 
chicken-broth undisturbed. The avidity with which he ate was 
in itself the best possible omen of returning health and strength ; 
and yet Fanny still looked out at window, on the dull deserted 
street. Even the tinkling of his spoon in the empty basin did 
not serve to arrest her attention, and he would have gone and 
shaken her by the hand, to thank her once more for her kind- 
ness, but that he knew he could not walk those three paces to 
save his life. 

His pocket-handkerchief was on the chimney-piece; he wanted 
it, and could not reach it. Nothing was more natural than that 
he should ask his nurse to hand it him, neither was it possible 
for her to refuse compliance ; but as their fingers met, although 
she tried hard to keep her face averted, he could not but see that 
the tears were streaming down her cheeks — tears, as his own 
heart told him, of joy and thanksgiving for his safety — tears of 
pity and affection — and of love. 

He clasped the hand that touched his own, and drew het 
towards him. " Miss Draper — Fanny! " said he, never a word 
more, and she flung herself down on her knees, and buried her 
face on his arm, bursting out sobbing as if her heart would 
break ; and then he knew it all — all ; — the whole sad story from 
the beginning of their acquaintance — the ill-matched, ill-con- 
ceived attachment out of which happiness could never come ! He 
pitied her, he soothed her, he stroked her glossy hair, he bent 
his own face down to hers. 

" I love you ! I love you ! " she sobbed out wildly. " I loved 
you from the first — the day we walked together by Ripley-water. 
1 can't help it. It's too late now. If you had died, I should 

nS T/ie White Rose. 

have died too. It you go away and leave me, I'll break my 
heart. Oh ! if I was a lady ! If only I was a lady ! Why 
shouldn't I be ? " 

He was weakened by illness. He was alone in the world 
aow. His heart, all sore and quivering, was painfully sensitive 
to the touch of consolation and affection. What wonder if be 
suffered his wiser nature to be overborne ; what wonder if he 
accepted all that was so lavishly poured out at his feet, and 
shutting his eyes wilfully to consequences, promised Fanny 
Draper that she should be "a lady" as soon as ever he was 
strong enough to stand up and say " amen" in a church. 

Mr. Bruff, could he have obtained admittance, might have 
taken a very pretty lesson in stage love-making during the next 
half-hour. Gerard Ainslie, lending himself willingly to that 
which he knew all the time was an illusion, vowed to his own 
heart that he was acting nobly, honourably, chivalrously, accord- 
ing to the dictates of gratitude, and as in duty bound ; while 
Fanny Draper, in love for the first time in her life, felt she had 
gained everything hitherto desired by her ill-regulated fancy, 
and was ready, nay, willing, d take the consequences of her 
centure, be they what they might. 



There was a pretty little room at Oakover, opening by a French 
window into a sheltered flower-garden, which Mrs. Vandeleur 
had voted from the very first especially adapted for a breakfast- 
parlour. Its bright paper, pretty furniture, choice engravings, 
and, above all, abundance of light, afforded every encouragement 
to that cheerfulness of mood and feelings with which it is 
advisable to begin the day. It must have been an obstinate fit 
of ill-humour to resist all these accessories, assisted by a glimpse 
of sunshine, a well-served breakfast, and a comfortable fire. 

Into this pleasant apartment stepped Mr. Vandeleur about ten 
o'clock in the morning towards the conclusion of that seques- 
tered period termed conventionally his honeymoon, but on the 
bridegroom's worn face sat an expression of restlessness and dis- 
content in keeping neither with time nor place. He walked up 
to the fire, seized the poker, gave a savage dig at the coals, and 
■dang the bell with a short, stern jerk that brought the smoothest 

The Honeymoon. 110 

and politest of servants to the door in less than thirty seconds. 
They were all a good deal afraid of him below-stairs, and it is 
needless to say nobody was better waited on than the master of 

" Has Mrs. Vandeleur hecn down ? " said he, glancing im- 
patiently at the unused breakfast-service. 

" I think not, sir," answered the domestic, respectfully ; " but 
Miss dancer's just come from her room, and I'll inquire." 

" Tell her to go up again and let her mistress know breakfast 
is ready," said his master sternly, and walked off to the window 
muttering, not so low but that the servant overheard — 

" Not down yet ! She never is down when I am ! To be 
aure, Glancer s the worst maid in Europe. I can see that with 
half an eye. And a saucy, troublesome jade into the bargain. 
Margaret always used to breakfast with me. But this one — 
this one ! I wonder whether I've been a cursed fool ? Some- 
times I think I have ! " 

Then Mr. Vandeleur, taking no notice of his breakfast, nor 
the unopened letters piled beside his plate, whistled, shook his 
head, thrust his hands into his pockets, and looked out at 

It was late autumn, almost early winter, and a coating of 
hoarfrost still lay crisp and white where the lawn was sheltered 
by an angle of the building from the sun. Such flowers as had 
not been removed were sadly blackened by the cold ; while, 
though the tan and russet hues of the waning year still clothed 
their lower branches, the topmost twigs of the trees cut bare 
and leafless against the deep, blue, dazzling sky. The scene 
without was bright, clear, and beautiful ; but chilling, hard, and 
cheerless, all the same. 

Perhaps it was the more in keeping with certain reflections of 
the proprietor within. For five minutes he stood motionless, 
looking steadfastly at a presumptuous robin smirking and sidling 
and pruning itself on the gravel-walk. 

In that five minutes how many by-gone scenes did he con- 
jure up ! How many years, how much of an ill-spent lifetime, 
did he travel back into the past ! 

London, in the heyday of youth, and health, and hope. 
Fashion, position, popularity, smiles of beauty, smiles of fortune, 
social and material success of every kind. Paris, in the prime 
of manhood, when the gilt was perhaps a little off the ginger- 
bread, but the food tasted luscious and satisfying still. More 
smiles, more beauty: the smiles franker broader, sprighdiei > 


ISO The White Rose. 

the beauty less retiring, less difficult to please. Then England 
once more, with its field-sports, its climate, its comforts, its 
conveniences ; the boon companions, the jovial gatherings, the 
liberty, even the license of a bachelor in a country home. After 
that, marriage. Spirits still buoyant, health still unbroken, and 
the dear, fragile, devoted, tender wife, of whom, even now, 
here waiting for his bride to breakfast with him, he could not 
think without a gnawing pain about his heart ! 

His bride ! The one woman of his whole life whom he had 
most desired to win. Not to please his fancy, as he knew too 
well j not to minister to his vanity ; but — and he smiled to think 
he was using the language of idiotic romance and drawing-room 
poetry, of unfledged boys and boarding-school girls — to satisfy 
his longing to be loved. He, the used-up, worn-out, grizzled 
old reprobate ! What business bad he, as he asked himself, 
grinning and clenching his hands, what business had he with 
hopes and fancies like these ? After such a life as his, was he 
to be rewarded at last by the true affection of a pure and spot- 
less woman ? If there was such a thing as retribution in this 
■«rorld, what had he a right to expect ? Dared he tell her a 
tenth, a hundredth of his follies, his iniquities, his crimes? 
Could he look into those guileless eyes, and not blush with very 
shame at his own memories ? Could he rest his head on that 
white sinless breast, and not quiver with remorse, self-scorn, and 
self-reproach ? Still, if she did but love him, if she could but 
love him, he felt there was a chance for repentance and amend- 
ment j he felt there was hope even for him. 

If she could but love him. Alas ! he was beginning to fear 
she had not learned to love him yet. 

A quiet step in the passage, the rustle of a dress, and Norah 
entered the room. Norah, looking twice as beautiful as on the 
wedding morning, though still far too pale and grave and stately 
for a bride. Her deep eyes had always something of melan- 
choly in them, but they were deeper and darker than ever of 
late 5 while on the chiseled features of the fair, proud face, for 
months had been settling an expression of repressed feeling and 
enforced composure, that caused it to look tranquil, reserved, 
and matronly beyond its years. 

She was beautifully dressed, though in somewhat sober colours 
for a bride 3 and as Vandeleur turned round on her entrance, his 
eyes could not but be pleased with the folds of falling drapery 
that marked while they enhanced the faultless outline of her 

The Honeymoon. l»t 

She passed nis letters with scarcely a glance, though the 
uppermost of the pile was addressed in a hand, feeble, delicate, 
scrawling, not to be mistaken for a man's. Few wives so lately 
married but would have betrayed some curiosity as to the cor- 
respondent. Norah saw nothing, it would seem, and suspected 
nothing, for she sat down before the urn without a word, and 
proceeded to make tea in a somewhat listless manner, now becom- 
ing habitual. 

"You're late, my dear," said Vandeleur, seating himself, too, 
and proceeding to open his letters. 

" Am I ? " she replied, absently. " I'm afraid I'm very lazy. 
And I don't sleep so well as I used." 

It was true enough. I suppose nobody does sleep well who 
is haunted by a sense of having acted unfairly towards two other 
people, and having lost at the same time all the hopes once 
glowing so brightly in the future. Norah's slumbers were 
broken, no doubt ; and though 

" The name she dared not name by day " 
was never on her lips in her waking hours, the phantom of its 
owner, with sad, reproachful eyes, paid her, perhaps, many an 
unwelcome visit in the visions of the night. 

She went on quietly with her breakfast, taking no more notice 
of her husband, till a burst of repressed laughter caused her to 
look up astonished ; and she observed him convulsed with a 
merriment peculiar to himself, that from some unexplained 
cause always impressed her with a sense of fear. 

Vandeleur had started slightly when he opened the topmost 
letter of his pile. He had not at first recognised the hand- 
writing, so much had some dozen lessons and a few weeks' pains- 
taking done for his correspondent, but the signature set all doubt 
at rest, while the matter of the epistle seemed to afford food for 
considerable mirth and approbation, denoted by such half-spoken 
expressions as the following :— 

" Clever girl ! " " How right I was ! " "I said she would 
if she had the chance ! " " What an inconceivable young fool ! '* 
" I know it ! I know it ! " " You deserve as much again, and 
you shall have it by return of post ! " 

The letter was indeed explicit enough. It ran as follows : — 

" Honoured Sir, — In accordance with my promise, I now 
take up my pen to apprise you that everything has been arranged 
as I have reason to believe you desired, and you will *ee by the 
signature below that my earthly happiness is now assured and 

laa The White Rose. 

complete. Sir, it was but last week as I became the lawful wife of 
Mr. Ainslie, and I lose no time in acquainting you with the same. 
I am indeed a happy woman, though you will not care to hear 
this— perhaps will not believe that I speak the truth. As heaven 
is above me, I declare my Gerard is all and everything I can 
wish. Sir, I would not change places with any woman in the 

" He has met with a serious accident in a fall from his horse, 
and been very bad, as you may have heard, but is doing well 
now, and with my nursing will soon be strong and hearty again. 
We are living in lodgings at the same address. Of course I have 
been put to considerable expense, particularly at first, but I am 
aware that I can safely trust your generous promise, and fulfil- 
ment of what you said you would do. 

"Mr. Vandeleur, — Sir, — Do not laugh at me; I love my 
husband very dearly, and nothing shall ever come between us 

" Your dutiful and obliged 

" Fanny Ainslie." 

"Capital! capital!" exclaimed Vandeleur when he reached 
the end. " Ton my soul, it's too absurd, too ludicrous ! What 
will the world come to next ? " 

" Something seems to amuse you," observed Norah, quietly. 
" If it's no secret, suppose you tell it me — I feel this morning 
as if a laugh would do me good." 

" Secret ! my dear," repeated Vandeleur. " It won't be a 
secret long. Certainly not, if newspapers and parish registers 
tell the truth. It would seem incredible, only I have it from 
the lady herself. Such a lady ! I should think she couldn't 
Epell her own name six weeks ago. Would you believe it, 
Norah? That young fool, Gerard Ainslie, has been and married 
a girl you remember down here, called Fanny Draper. A bold 
tawdry girl who used to be always hanging about Ripley Mill. 
Here's her letter ! You can read it if you like ! " 

He looked very hard at Norah while he gave it, but his wife 
never moved an eyelash, taking it from his hand coldly and im- 
penetrably as if it had been an egg or a teaspoon. With the 
same fixed face and impassive manner she read it through from 
end to end, and returned it, observing only in a perfectly un- 
moved voice — 

" I believe she loves him. It is an unfortunate marriage, bu! 
I hope he will be happy." 

Retribution. J » J 

Mrs. Vandeleur appeared, however, less amused than her hus- 
oand ; nor do I think she took this opportunity of enjoying the 
laugh she thought would do her so much good on that cold 
frosty morning at Oakover. 



There is something unspeakably touching in that holy parable 
which describes the desolation of him who has been hitherto 
possessed by an unclean spirit, as he wanders aimlessly through 
dry and desert places, " seeking rest, and finding none !" John 
Vandeleur, not yet married a year, had already discovered that 
for him there was to be no such repose as springs from a quiet 
heart. In his youth and in his prime he had scorned the idea of 
Peace, and now, thirsting for her loving murmur, longing to be 
fanned by her snowy wing, he felt that over the surface of those 
troubled waters, in which his soul was sunk, the dove, however 
weary, must flit in vain for evermore. 

Climbing the Taunus mountain with long athletic strides, he 
heeded little the glorious panorama of Rhineland, stretching 
round him to the horizon. What cared he for the polished 
stems and gleaming foliage of those giant beeches, or the black 
lines of stunted pine against the summer sky ? The wide Pala- 
tinate might smile beneath him, rising as he ascended into tier 
on tier of vineyards, corn-fields, meadow-land, and forest. The 
winding river, here a sheet of silver, there a gleam of gold, 
might dwindle to a single thread ere it vanished in the dim 
distance, that melted cloud and mountain together in one blue 
vapoury haze, but Vandeleur scarcely turned his head to look. 
He certainly was not of the meek, nor in the sense in which 
they are heirs of all that is bright and beautiful in nature, could 
he be said to " inherit the earth." 

He walked on faster and faster, goaded as it would seem by 
some gnawing pain within, but stopping short at intervals to 
look round and make sure he was alone, when he would burst 
out in harsh peals of laughter, loud and long, yet suggestive ot 
anything but mirth. Then he would hasten on, gesticulating, 
muttering, sometimes even raising his voice as though in conver- 
tatioii with another. "1 am nm<rabh!" so ran his wild. 

*34 The White Rose. 

unruly thoughts, half-silenced, half-expressed. "Miserable! 1 
know it — I feel it. And it's my own fault ! I see that poor 
German devil in a blouse working his heart out at a dung-heap 
for forty kreutzers a-day^ and, by heaven, I envy him ! I, John 
Vandeleur, the man so many fellows will tell you is the luckiest 
dog on earth. And why ? Because he lived to please himself 
till he was tired of everything, and now when he would give 
the heart of his body to please another, he can't do it ! Not 
man enough, forsooth ! What is there in me that this cold in- 
sensible girl cannot be brought to love ? Oh ! you fool, you 
cursed fool ! You, who knew it all, who had gone the whole 
round, who had once even found what you wanted and been 
almost happy for a while — to play your liberty against a pair of 
blue eyes and a knot of chestnut hair dipped in gold ! But what 
eyes, what hair she has ! Ah ! Norah, why can you not love 
me ? Perhaps it's my punishment. Perhaps there is a Pro- 
vidence, and it serves me right. Perhaps a man has no business 
to expect that he shall wage aggressive warfare on them for a 
score of years, and win the best and noblest and fairest to make 
him happy at the finish. What fun I had, to be sure. Ah ! 
those orgies in Paris, those suppers after the opera, — the mas- 
querading, the champagne, the dancing, the devilry of the whole 
game ! And now it makes me sick to think of it all. What 
has come over me ? Is it that I am getting old ? Yes, it must 
be that I am getting old. It's no use; Time won't stop even 
for John Vandeleur, though the staunch jld 'plater ' has waited 
on me patiently enough while I made the running, I must 
allow. I am strong and active too. I feel as if I could fight, 
and I am sure I could dance still. Not many of the young 
ones could touch me, up this hill now, for a breather, fair heel 
and toe ; but there are wrinkles on my face, I saw them this 
morning, and whole streaks of grey in my hair and whiskers. 
It must be that — I am too old for her, poor girl, and she can't 
bring herself to care for me, though she tries so hard. And it 
worries her — it frets her, the darling. It makes her pale and sad 
and weary. Sawdor's an ass ! He knew he was lying when he 
talked of Oakover being too cold for her in the winter. It 
wasn't the cold outside that made my pretty one so pale. He 
knew it ! And he knew he was lying, too, when he ordered us 
here for change of air, and bothered about her being below thg 
mark and wanting tone. Idiots ! What the devil do doctors 
mean by talking about tone, as if a woman was a pianoforte or 
a big dium I And I should like to know why the air of Horn- 

Retribution. 125 

burg is different from the air of Richmond or Brighton, or 
London, for the matter of that ! I never knew a woman ex- 
cept Norah that London didn't agree with in the season. No, 
what makes poor Norah ill is being my wife. It is I who have 
injured her — I who would do anything to make her happy. And 
how can I repair the harm I've done ? She has a devilish good 
jointure; why not set her free? It is but a leap in the air, a 
touch to a trigger. Nay, there are easier ways than those. And 
is life worth having after all ? I should know better than most 
people: I've had the best of everything, done almost everything 
in my time, and, upon my word, I hardly think it is ! What 
with rent-days, servants, men of business, lame horses, and that 
eternal dressing and undressing, there's a deal of trouble con- 
nected with terrestrial existence. I dare say the other place 
isn't half such a bore. I wonder if there is another place. I've 
a deuced good mind to find out soon — this very day. Not till 
after dinner though. I haven't had an appetite since I came 
here, but I think mountain air and a twelve-mile walk ought to 
do it. Halloa ! who's this in a nankeen jacket ? I do believe 
it'sTourbillon. Hola, he. C'est toi, n'est-ce pas, Tourbillon ? 
Parole d'honneur, mon cher, je ne men doutais pas. II parait 
done, qu'il n y a que les montagnes qui ne se rencontrent— >- 

The individual thus accosted, whom Vandeleur's quick pace 
had overtaken going up the hill, turned, stood for a moment, as 
it were transfixed in an attitude of theatrical astonishment, and 
then folded the Englishman in a nankeen embrace, with many 
quiet protestations denoting his extreme delight at this unex- 
pected meeting, couched in the English language, which, priding 
himself on his proficiency, he spoke as only a Frenchman can. 
Count Tourbillon was remarkably handsome, about two or three- 
and-thirty, and some years before had formed a close intimacy with 
Vandeleur at Paris. The Count was essentially what his country- 
men term a viveur, leading a life of systematic profligacy and self- 
indulgence with a happy philosophy that seemed to accept Vice 
as the natural element of humanity. He would take you by the 
arm, and detail to you some proceeding of flagrant iniquity with 
the measured accent; and calm approval of one who relates a 
meritorious inslance of benevolence, or expatiates on a beautiful 
law of nature. Epigrammatic rather than fluent, terse rather than 
voluble, contrary to the accepted type of his nation, he affected 
an extraordinary composure and insouciance in the more impor- 
tant, as in the more trivial affairs of daily life. He would dance 

126 The White Rose. 

a cotillon, carve a chicken, or run an adversary through the body, 
with the same immovable face, the same polite and self-reliant 
manner, that seemed only intent on strictly following out the rules 
of politeness, and conscientiously meeting the exigencies of society. 
His figure was firmly put together and strong, cast in the round 
mould of his nation. His face very handsome and sparkling, 
with its ruddy brown complexion that no excess seemed to pale, 
and its bright black eyes, never dull with fatigue nor dimmed 
with wine. Blessed with ,?n iron constitution, he conscientiously 
made the worst possible use of its advantages. 

"And you have been here long, my friend ? " said he, taking 
Vandeleur affectionately by the arm and turning him down hill 
for a walk back to Homburg. " For me, I have been voyaging 
here, there, what you call ' on the loose,' and I only found my- 
self at Frankfort last evening. I journeyed on at once. No, I 
have been too often in Frankfort to linger about the Juden- 
Gasse, and I have already seen too frequently t tie naked Ariadne 
on her Lion. So I took the railroad, slept at the Quatre Saisons, 
and marched up here like a conscript, because the mountain air 
always does me good. Ah ! rogue ! I know what you would 
ask. No, I have not been to work yet. ' Bizness,' as you call 
it. I have not even looked at the play-tables. Be tranquil ; 
there are yet many hours till midnight. I little thought it 
would arrive to me to meet so old a friend here on this moun- 
tain, which, for the rest, interests me not at all. And you, how 
goes it ? Frankly, you look well, you have more flesh, you do 
not age by a day." 

The Vandeleur to whom Tourbillon thus addressed himself 
was indeed a very different man from the Vandeleur of five 
minutes ago. Keen, excitable, on the surface at least impres- 
sionable, and influenced by the temptation or the circumstances 
of the moment, he had become once more, to all outward 
appearance, the agreeable acquaintance, the jo\ial companion, 
the ready man of the world, whose society Tourbillon had found 
so pleasant in Paris a few short years ago. There are many 
characters of considerable depth thu., easily affected by external 
agencies, of which they throw off the consequences as rapidly as 
they arise. Far down beneath the dark cold wateis, slime and 
weeds, and ugly rotting waifs, and dead men's bones, may be 
lying, foul, secret, and undisturbed, though the surface be smiling 
calm and blue in the summer sunshine, or leaping gladly into 
life and movement, fresh, white, and curling under a ten-knot 

Retribution. J 27 

It is part of the creed professed by such men as Vandeleur to 
seem ion camarade before the world, whatever be amiss within, 
and perhaps they do cheat the Avenger out of a stripe or two, in 
t his strict observance of their faith. 

"Like me," replied the Englishman. "I have hardly yet 
been here long enough for Mrs. Vandeleurto begin the Louisen- 
Briinnen. You don't know Mrs. Vandeleur. I must present 
you. Tourbillon, I'm not so easily amused as I used to be. 
This is a d d slow place ! " 

" Slow ! '' replied the other, lighting a paper cigarette, and 
inhaling its fumes into his lungs. " No place can be slow, a? 
you call it, when one has a charming wife; and that yours is 
charming I need not be told. You shall present me to madame 
this very afternoon, when I have made my toilette. I trust 
madame derives benefit already from the waters and the air ot 
the Taunus ? " 

" I hope so," answered Vandeleur absently. " There ought 
to be some redeeming quality in such a hole as this. I wish now 
we had come through Paris, only they said it would be bad for 
her. Why is it, I wonder, that everything pleasant must be 
either wrong, expensive, or unwholesome ? Sometimes all 

"Ah! you reflect, my friend,'' replied Tourbillon; "but 
your reflections are not of the philosopher. To be wrong ! 
that is, not to think as I do. To be expensive ! that is, to re- 
spect civilisation, to observe the laws of political economy. And 
to be unwholesome ! Bah ! There is no such thing. All excess 
cures itself, and inclination is the best guide. I wish you had 
been in Paris three weeks ago, my friend. They asked for you 
at the Jockey Club, and Frontignac even vowed he would go to 
England to fetch you. We had an entertainment that only 
wanted your assistance to be superb ! " 

" I should have thought my companions were ail dead or 
ruined, or shut up," said Vandeleur, laughing. " You fellows 
live pretty fast over there, and I haven't been on a Boulevard 
since Charles M artel won your two-year-old stakes, and Fron • 
tignac lost 50,000 francs, because he wouldn't believe what I 
told him ; and that is how long ago ?" 

" More than a year, since, he is first favourite at present for 
the French Derby. And imagine that you are not yet forgotten .' 
Why, supper was hardly over before Madelon talked of you with 
tears in her eyes. ' You will see him at Baden,' she said ; ' these 
Kngllsli all go to Baden. Tell him that I will never speak to 

1 28 The White Rose. 

him again, but that he still lives in my dieams !' See what it 
is to have a heart !" 

Tourbillon stopped to light a fresh cigarette, and Vandeleur 
laughed a laugh not pleasant to hear. 

" Such a heart as Madelon's is indeed worth gold," said he; 
<: and a good deal of it, too, as most of us have found out to our 
cost. I am sorry though she has not forgotten me, because it 
shows that she does not expect to find so egregious a fool again 
in France or England ! And how she used to bore me !" 

" I permit not one woman to bore me more than another," 
answered the Frenchman. " But 1 agree with you. Madelon 
ceased to be amusing when she began to educate herself. The 
most charming person I have seen lately is a South Sea Islander, 
who has only been six weeks in Europe. I met her at Baden. 
She speaks nothing but Tahitian, and her figure is perfect. I 
understand also that she is most beautifully tattooed." 

"With a fish-bone through her nose, of course," laughed Van- 
deleur. " Count, I make you my compliments. I do believe if 
a female gorilla were to drive through the Bois de Boulogne in 
a mail-phaeton, a dozen of you would be in love with her before 
dinner-time. Was there any fun at Baden, and had ycu any 

"I never got into one good 'serie' the whole fortnight," 
answered Tourbillon. " There was a run on the Red the only 
evening I didn't play, and an Englishman won a heavy stake. 
For company, there were Russians, of course, and a few of our 
old friends, but not so many as last year. It soon ceased to be 
amusing, and then I came away." 

They were nearing Homburg now, and had already entered 
the long straight avenue of poplars that leads from the pine 
forest to the town. Tourbillon was still musing on the Trente- 

" That Englishman had a good system," he observed, thought- 
fully. " It was better than mine. We came together by the 
railroad yesterday, and he explained it to me in detail. I think 
I shall try it this evening." 

" What Englishman ?" asked Vandeleur, who had forgotten 
all about his companion s losses at Baden-Baden, and was medi- 
tating, in truth, on Norah, and her prescribed glasses of water. 

" Enslee was his name — Enslee," replied Tourbillon ; "you 
must know him, I think. He is quite young ; what you call 
' nice boy.' He is a gentleman, I am sure, and has a pretty wife. 
She plays too, but it is a woman's game. Feeble, yet bold, ip 

French Lessons. 129 

the wrong time. She will never make the bank leap ac Rouge- 
et-Noir, though her style might be dangerous enough for the 

" Enslee," repeated Vandeleur. " Enslee ! No ; I can't 
remember anybody of that name." 

" I shall show her to you ! " exclaimed Tourbillon, exultingly. 
" You will give me credit for my taste. A bright, fresh-coloured 
woman, not very tall, with a perfectly rounded figure. I tell 
you, my friend, her shape is a model. She has beautiful black 
hair and eyes, but her complexion is as red and white as if she 
were a blonde. When she enters a society she seems to sparkle 
like a jewel. Let us see. She is not a pearl nor a diamond- 
no, she is not grande dame enough. She is a ruby — a brilliant, 
beautiful ruby. I will present you this evening. I know them 
both well. Ah ! I turn down here for the Quatre Saisons. 
Au revoir, mon cher ! One moment ! I remember now. 
Enslee addresses her as Fanchon, — what you call Fanni!" 

Vandeleur turned to go to his lodgings, the most beautifully 
furnished and the best situated in the whole town. Before he 
reached the door it all flashed upon him at once. 

"Enslee! Fanni!" said he. "Of course it is! Good 
heavens ! who would have thought of their turning up here ? 
Gerard Ainslie, her old love — my Norah s old love. No, I'm 
not tired of life yet ; and I'm not going to be fool enough, Mr. 
Ainslie, to give you a clear stage before you're ruined, an event 
that in the common course of nature cannot be far distant. The 
match isn't over, isn't it ? Well, we shall see who can hold out 
longest. The old one isn't beat yet. Though she mayn't love 
me, I don't think she can still love you. My darling, there is 
a chance even now j and if I could but win, you would save me, 
body and soul ! " 

So he went up to dress without presenting himself before his 
wife, heated and dusty after walking, but his face fell sadly 
while he looked in the glass and thought of the odds against 
him, in the battle he had resolved to fight out with all his heart, 
and soul. 



All women improve in appearance after marriage. With our- 
selves the effect of that valuable institution is precisely the reverse. 
] have a friend who boasts he can distinguish the married men 

130 The White Rose. 

from the single in anj strange society he enters. Nay, he even 
goes so far as to assert that he knows a married man's umbrella 
in the hall of a club. My friend is a bachelor, and I think he 
is a little hard upon those who have shown a more adventurous 
spirit than his own. Nevertheless there can be no doubt that 
the husband thrives less obviously in a domesticated state than 
the wife. Fanny Draper had been a very pretty girl, no doubt, 
when she broke the hearts of her rustic admirers aoout Ripley, 
and even attracted the baneful notice of the Squire at Oakover j 
but she was no more to be compared to the Mrs. Ainslie who 
had spent six weeks in Paris and a month at Baden-Baden, than 
the Cinderella in the chimney-corner to the glittering Princess 
of the glass slippers, who leaves the ball at midnight, having 
dazzled society with her splendour and magnificence. Unmar- 
ried, she had been but the crystal picked up, dim and rugged, 
from the beach. Married, she was the same crystal cut and 
polished, set by the jeweller, transformed into a flashing gem. 

Mr. and Mrs. Ainslie now occupied a very commodious apart- 
ment " of four pieces," as it was termed by the half-French, half- 
German landlady who let it them, in a cheerful street not far 
removed from the Kursaal, and other attractions of pleasant, 
idle, wicked, good-for-nothing Homburg. They had now been 
married — well, long enough to be, perhaps, a little tired of it. 
Tired of it, that is to say, under the conditions of a narrow 
income, dwindling gradually to nothing at all; an utter dissimi- 
larity of tastes, opinions, pursuits, ideas, and inclinations; a 
strong though unacknowledged sentiment of disappointment on 
both sides, and the daily inconveniences attending that mode of 
existence which is called " living by one's wits." 

Fanny, indeed, was at first over head and ears in love. It is 
but justice to say that with a very little encouragement she would 
have continued so. Gerard, on the other hand, had sacrificed 
himself, as he felt twenty times a day, to a morbid feeling of 
pique and disappointment, acting on a weakened state of bodily 
health, exposed to the seductions of a careful, loving nurse, and 
the fire of a pair of dark eyes, that softened and glistened when- 
ever they looked in his face. He had given way in a moment 
of tenderness, without reflection, and behold him tied for life ! 
" Till death do us part." These were the words he had repeated 
so lightly, and hour by hour he became more alive to their ter- 
rible significance. He had never expected it to answer, and it 
never did. In the first place, the only relative he possessed, his 
great-uncle, was furious, as the nephew knew he would be, and 

Frcncn Letsons. 131 

withdrew his countenance at once. The few friends on whom 
this young husband thought he could count, soon showed him 
the fallacy of such calculations. One had lost a " cracker," and 
could hardly pay his own debts. Another was on the eve of 
making the same application to the petitioner. A third had 
promised his grandmother never to back a bill, and owed it to 
himself not to lend ready money. Everybody seemed, by some 
fatality, to be living at the same address in Short Street — a 
locality, by the way, in which some of our pleasantest acquaint- 
ances inhabit the highest numbers. Gerard had nothing to 
depend on but his little capital and his commission. The first 
he soon exhausted, and the second he unwillingly sold. On its 
proceeds he was now leading the unsatisfactory, desultory life of 
an adventurer who tries to remain a gentleman. Of course, he 
went abroad. Equally, of course, with no career before him, no 
profession, no fixed pursuits to employ the force and energies of 
youth, he became a gambler, and for a time had little reason to 
complain of Fortune. He was what is termed a good player by 
those who are illogical and superstitious enough to believe that 
there can exist any element of skill in Roulette, Rouge-et-Noir, 
and such games as are avowedly and essentially ventures of pure 
chance. He would abstain from soliciting Fortune when she 
seemed coy, but if she smiled, would never hesitate to confide 
himself blindly and recklessly to her care. At Baden-Baden the 
goddess had treated him like a spoil*" child, and when he came 
on to Homburg he found himself possessed of all the necessaries, 
and many luxuries, of life, including a new dress or two for 
Fanny, besides a goodly sum of ready money in rouleaux, and 
honest lillets de lanque for himself. 

These, it is needless to observe, he kept in store for possible 
reverses. None of us ever knew a gambler lay by his winnings, 
or in any way convert them into real property. It would seem 
that by some inscrutable law of nature no sooner does a piece of 
gold touch the green cloth of a gaming-table than it becomes a 
mere counter, and a mere counter it remains till it finds its way 
back to the croupier's rake, and is absorbed by the bank once 
more. A man who plays every day of his life, however, is sure 
not to be without good clothes, clean gloves, and such outward 
appliances of prosperity as demand only a supply of pocket- 
money. Gerard, in his pleasant lodgings opposite the Kursaal, 
dressed, hatted, and ready to go out, looked very handsome, and 
very like a gentleman, although a keen observer might already 
have detected faint traces of those lines about his lips which 

13 a The White Rose. 

constant, unremitting anxiety scores on so young a face. Fanny 
glanced admiringly at her husband as he put a cigar in his 
mouth, and reviewed his comely person in the glass between the 

" Going out so soon, dear ? " said she, laying down the French 
novel she had been poring over assiduously, with a dictionary in 
her lap. " Why it's too early for the tables yet. You know 
you never have any luck before three o'clock." 

" Early ! " repeated Gerard ; " ihe time must pass quicker with 
you than it does with me. I thought it was nearly dinner-time 
till I heard that tiresome brass band strike up with its eternal 
' Goldbreckel ' gallop. You've got an amusing book, Fan; you're 
in luck. I wish I could find anything that amused me." 

She looked quickly up at him, but the careless tone hurt less 
than it would have done six months ago, because under repeated 
knocks the heart must harden if it does not break. Still there 
was a little tremble in her voice while she replied — 

"The time passes with me, Gerard, not because I am happy, 
but because I am employed. If I didn't work hard, how could 
T ever expect to speak French as well as I ought to do in my 
position as your wife ? " 

" Not happy ! " repeated Gerard, for although he did not love 
her, he was sufficiently a man to feel aggrieved. " Thank you, 
Fanny ! And yet I don't know why you should be happy. Our 
life has been a sad mistake all through. I knew it from the 
first, and you are beginning to find it out now." 

"You have no right to say so!" she exclaimed, with the 
colour rising in her cbeek, and her eyes flashing. " I know 
perfectly well how much you gave up to marry me. I have 
been reminded of it often enough ; — no ! net in words, Gerard ; 
you have always been a gentleman, I will say that. Perhaps 
that was why I used to be so fond of you. But in tone, in 
manner, in a thousand little things a woman finds out too soon, 
even though she isn't a lady born ! But I've tried hard, Gerard, 
hard — no, I'm not going to cry — to be good enough for you. 
Why, I could scarcely sign my name, not properly, when I knew 
you first; and now there isn't a duchess or a countess as writes— 
I mean no lady in the land can write a better hand than mine. 
The same with grammar, the same with music, the same with 
French, though some of the words does — do come very hard to 
remember w^en you want em. No, dear, I'm not a lady, I 
know, but I'm trying my best to be one ; and a woman's whole 
heart is worth something after all, though she is only a miller's 

French Lessons. 133 

daughter, as you'li find cut one of these days when it's too 

" I don't want to find out anything but a good system for the 
Trente-et-Quarante," answered he, a little pettishly. " I've made 

too many discoveries in my time, and one of them is " 

Gerard stopped himself, for it was not his nature to be ungene- 
rous, and he felt ashamed to utter the sentiment that quivered 
on his lip. 

" Is what ? " repeated Mrs. Ainslie, looking very resolute and 
handsome, with a burning colour fixed in her cheek. " Let us 
have it out, Gerard. I've strong nerves. If I'm not a lady, 
I've that at least to be thankful for, and I'm not afraid to hear 
the truth. Nor if I were a man should I be afraid to speak it, 
as you are ! ' ' 

The taunt brought it out, though he repented a moment 

" Is this ! " said he, settling his collar in the glass. " That a 
man is a fool to marry before he knows his own mind; but 

a man is a d d fool who does know his own mind, and 

marries the wrong woman with his eyes open." 

She never answered a word. His heart smote him, as well it 
might, the moment he had delivered this unmanly thrust 5 and 
if she had burst into tears and thrown herself upon his breast, 
who knows ? Perhaps everything would have turned out dif- 
ferently. She bent over the dictionary instead, and hunted 
earnestly, as it seemed, for some crabbed French word. It must 
have been a minute or two before she looked up, and her face 
was bright, her voice gay, though there was a hard metallic ring 
in it, while she observed — 

" ' Pieuvre ! ' what can ' pieuvre ' mean in a sentence like this ? 
Can you explain it, Gerard ? I shall never make sense of it. I 
must wait for the Count j he promised to come in and give me 
a lesson this afternoon." 

Gerard sneered. 

" Tourbillon ought to be a good French master," said he, 
moving towards the door. " He must have brought a good many 
pupils to perfection, if all they say about him is true." 

" At least he is too kind and patient," she answered bitterly 
" T to despise a woman for being ignorant, and working her heart 
out trying to learn." 

But it is doubtful if Gerard heard .her. He was half-way 
down-stairs by this time, meditating I think less upon Count 
Tcurbillon's proficiency in female tuition, than his own lately 

134 Thc White Rose. 

invented system of backing couleur at certain numerical inten 
vals, while pursuing a regular course of play on the black and 
the red. It may perhaps be necessary to explain, for the benefit 
of those who are too wise to affect such games of chance, that 
Rouge and Noir are simply arbitrary terms expressing really the 
respective amount of " pips " on two lines of cards, the upper of 
which is dealt invariably for black, the lower for red. Which- 
ever line (amounting, when summed up, to less than forty) 
counts nearest thirty-one, is considered to win, irrespective, 
except for those who are backing couleur (which involves a dif- 
ferent speculation altogether), of the actual hue of the cards thus 

Fanny watched her husband walk across the street, with a 
strange wistful expression on her handsome face. When he had 
disappeared, without once looking back, through the portals of 
the Kursaal, she rose and went to the glass. Here she stood for 
several minutes perusing every feature with unusual attention, 
till a well-known step on the stairs disturbed her self-examina- 
tion, and she sat down again with her French novel and her 
dictionary, smiling a peculiar smile that seemed to denote some 
fixed purpose finally adopted, rather than amusement, happiness, 
or peace of mind. 

" Entrez!" said she, with a clear pleasant voice, and a very 
fair French accent, in reply to the knock at her chamber-door ; 
and Count Tourbillon made his appearance, no longer in the 
nankeen jacket of morning deshabille, but dressed in perfect 
taste, and with as much care as if turned out for Hyde Park or 
the Bois de Boulogne in the height of the season. 

The Count knew he was good-looking, but was wise enough 
not to trust his good looks alone for ascendency over women. 
He had seen how fatal it is for an admirer to betray that he is 
thinking more of himself than his companion, and the ugliest 
man alive might have taken a lesson from Tourbillon in the 
self-forgetfulness he assumed when there was a lady in the room. 
He guessed Mrs. Ainshe was not born in the upper ranks, there- 
fore an experienced tact told him his manner should be deferen- 
tial in the extreme. He saw she was unaccustomed to extrava- 
gance, therefore he dressed more sumptuously than usual ; and 
assuming that she must be neglected by her husband, tout 
simplement, as he told himself, because he was a husband, argued 
that constant attention, and ardent attachment, implied rather 
than declared, could not fail to bring this pretty and attractive 
woman to his feet. 

French Lessons. J 3.5 

" Aud how goes on the French ? " said the Count, after a few 
common-place salutations, compliments on Mrs. Ens/ee's good 
looks, and the usual news of the morning at the watering-place. 
"Ah ! madame, you should return to Paris, where you made so 
short a stay. You are more than half a Frenchwoman now, in 
dress, in tournure, in refinement of speech and manner. A 
month in the capital would make you simply perfect. With 
your appearance, with your energy, with your force of character, 
a woman is capable of everything amongst us. You are wasted 
in such a place as this. You are indeed." 

He sat a long way off; he held his hat in his hand. Nothing 
could be more frank, more friendly, more respectful, than his 
tone and bearing. 

" I like Paris well enough, Monsieur le Comte," answered 
Fanny, " but after all, what am I there ? I have no rank, no 
fortune, no position. My husband is not likely to make me 
one. I should be quite lost and trodden down in that great 
world of which we so often speak." 

"What are you?" said the Count, with admirably repressed 
rapture. " You are an Englishwoman. Forgive me, madame. 
A beautiful, an intelligent, may I not say an enterprising 
Englishwoman ? Such characters make a perfect ' fury ' in 
French society. And you know what we are — you know the 
success that a woman may have in our world if only she is 
launched under favourable auspices, and will play her own game, 
without suffering othero to overlook her hand. I do assure you, 
madame, that if I were in your place (with your face and 
figure, lien entendu), in six weeks I would have the whole of 
Paris at my feet." 

Did it cross her mind tha/. Gerard had never appreciated her 
like this j that perhaps he might be taught her value by the 
example of others — perhaps love her better when he had lost 
her altogether, and it was too late ; that this man, older, more 
experienced, moving in a far higher grade than her husband, 
rated her as she deserved ; that he would not have left her with 
a bitter taunt on his lip, and walked wearily off to the play- 
tables in order to escape from her society ? She was a woman, 
and such thoughts as these probably did cross her mind. She 
was a woman, and they probably did not pass away without 
leaving indelible traces behind. 

" I should like it," she said, after a long pause of meditation, 
during which the Count thought her face the prettiest he had 
ever seen. "I ^ould like it, but it's impossible. You know 


136 The White Rose. 

iiow we are circumstanced. You see how we live. We make 
no secrets with you. We do not look upon you as a stranger. 
We consider you a real friend." 

Tourbillon bowed, and his bow expressed gratitude, homage, 
cordiality, even amusement. 

"What you like, madame," he replied ; "what you wish; 
rather I should say, what you will, is sure to come to pass. It 
is such women as yourself, if you only knew it, who govern the 
world. You are kind enough to believe me a friend. I am a 
devoted friend, and one whom you may command at any time, 
and for any service. You — you little know all I would do for 
you, if I might only have the chance ! And now how gets on the 
French ? I may well be proud of my pupil. If you go on as 
you have begun, in six months you will speak as well as I do." 

Count Tourbillon knew better than most men when to make 
running, and when to lie by patiently and wait. He had risked 
as much as was prudent for the present, and it would be wise 
now to content himself with affording amusement, well aware 
that when he had taken leave she would revolve the whole 
interview in her mind, and interest must follow in good time. 
The Count had determined to win the affections of this pretty 
Englishwoman, who no doubt seemed more attractive to him 
than she would have been to an admirer of her own nation in 
an equally high rank of life. Many little shortcomings of ex- 
pression and manner that shocked and even disgusted Gerard 
Ainslie, utterly escaped the Frenchman, whose own country- 
women, by the way, are not quite so refined in the boudoir as in 
the salon. Tourbillon, I say, had determined to succeed, and 
perhaps over-rated the difficulties in his path. Gerard, with 
blighted prospects, reckless habits, and a preoccupied heart, was 
no match for the cold, calculating Parisian, armed with the 
experience of a hundred similar affairs. 

Even at the disadvantage of his fifteen years or so, John Van- 
deleur would have proved a far more equal adversary, had the 
Count taken it into his head to fancy himself in love with proudj 
impassive Norah. 

But they were all at cross purposes in this untoward little 
party at Homburg, and resembled pots of iron and porcelain 
vases hurtling together down the stream. Borne on the same 
waters, whirling in the same eddies, floating in the same direc« 
tion, still the softest material is ever that which suffers most. 

" Sulvre la Gagnank."' 137 



Let us follow Gerard Aiuslie into the plain, square, classical- 
ooking building which constitutes the very heart and citadel, as 
t were, of the sort of town he now likes best to frequent, the 
shrine at which he seeks his oracles, the temple, alas ! in which 
:.e elects to worship that false goddess, greater here than was 
ever Diana with the Ephesians, who demands from her votaries 
gold, affections, honour, self-respect, nay, is not to be satis- 
tied at last, perhaps, unless they seal their devotion with their 

But the temple is very comfortable and well-arranged never- 
theless. In it are found reading-rooms, ball-rooms, smoking- 
rooms, music-rooms, and a noble suite of apartments devoted to 
the object for which the whole building is designed. It is with 
these that we have to do. It is to these Gerard bends his steps, 
dallying by the way, and turning often aside in the leisurely 
manner in which your confirmed gambler always gets to work. 
He is too anxious ever to seem anxious. So he wipes his feet 
carefully on the mat, though the varnished boots show not 
a speck of mud, removes his hat, lingers a moment in the 
reading-room adorned by an old French gentleman with a belly, 
a snuft-box, a white waistcoat, and a black wig, sitting as far as 
possible from a German lady of a certain age, in spectacles, dirty 
hands, and a brown silk dress, glancing at a grotesque caricature 
in the Charivari, a column of Galignani, turned upside down, 
and so passes out again, much edified, by a door that opens on 
one of the rooms appropriated to roulette. 

Here he salutes with grave politeness two cosmopolitan ladies 
whose acquaintance he has made at Baden-Baden, correct in 
manner, quiet in deportment, though dressed in a style that is, 
to say the least of it, startling, and with countenances denoting 
that they have not experienced what they themselves call " Ion- 
hear aujeu." 

From these, he edges his way to the nearest of the play-tables, 
the outer circle, so to speak, in that Pandemonium, of which he 
will presently penetrate to the very centre. 

Now in an Euglish hot-house we have often had occasion to 
observe that the head-gardener, usually an impracticable Scotch- 
man of considerable pretensions, leads us by cautious degrees 

138 The White Rose. 

from one forcing-house to another, each of a higher temperature 
than its predecessor, till we reach a stifling atmosphere, that 
makes egress into the chill winter's afternoon a deligl tful 
luxury. Also, in the Turkish bath, a preparation which per- 
haps even more than the English hot-house affords to the lost and 
reprobate a foretaste of their eventual destination we are ushered 
at first into an oven, in which identity is simply an unbearable 
burden, before we are subjected to such a furnace as renders 
existence an insufferable torture. So, I say, in a German 
gambling establishment, the metaphorical caloric of high play 
increases by regular gradations as we get further in. People 
A-ho risk a florin or two at a time content themselves with 
dallying at roulette ; those who are not satisfied unless they can 
count their gains in gold, affect one or other of the tables at 
which trente-et-quarante, sometimes called rouge-et-noir, is 
played for such moderate stakes as a couple of double-Frederics 
or a few napoleons at a venture, while the real gambler, the 
player with whom winning or losing means simply wealth or 
ruin, there is yet another table in another room distinguished 
for the silent attention and grave a'r of business pervading it, 
in which alone are heard such pithy sentences as these: — 
" Rouge gagne ! Couleur perd ! " " Pardon, M'sieur. Quatre 
rouleaux. C'est juste !" "Deux cent louis a la masse!" "Tout 
a la masse !" " Messieurs, le jeu est fait ! " 

The men and women, too, who walk out of this room always 
seem to be looking at something in the extreme distance, far 
beyond the walls of the Kursaal, far beyond the sky-line of the 
Taunus, far beyond the confines of the Fatherland, and the glit- 
tering windings of its beautiful beloved Rhine. 

Gerard's temper, though he would have scorned to admit it, 
was a little ruffled by his own impatience with Fanny. He did 
not feel in cue to play 5 had not that confidence in himself 
which often indeed deceives a gambler, but without which no 
man, I imagine, ever yet rose up the winner of a great stake. 
So he stood at the roulette-table, and amused himself by losing 
a good many napoleons in fruitless experiment on the figures, 
the zero, the columns, the middle numbers, every possible com- 
bination by which Fortune tries to juggle her votary into the 
belief that he is not simply tossing up heads-and-tails with the 
certainty that one in every thirty-six hazards must be against 
the player. 

'■ & Martingale, bedad ! that 'ud break the Bank of Eng- 
land'" slid an Irish major standing behind, and watching 

" Suirre la (la^nuule." 139 

Gerard back his losses systematically, with an admiration of his 
fortitude no whit damped by its ill-success. 

A pretty little Frenchwoman who had waged her solitary 
venture of a couple of florins on the number she dreamed that 
morning, and lost, shot sympathising glances out of her velvety 
black eyes, as she withdrew to the sofa by the wall, where she 
had left her companion, and observed to the latter, " II est beau 
joueur, ce Monsieur la. Tiens, e'est dommage. Figurez-vous, 
Caroline. II a double cinq fois de suite!" and Caroline, twice 
the age, not half so pretty, and on whom Gerard's good looks 
and dark eyes made no impression whatever, contented herself 
with a dissatisfied grutu in reply, and an utter condemnation of 
the whole process, room, table, croupier, players, and game. 

It was one of her florins the other had risked according to 
their compact. These two mustered something like a Napoleon 
and a half per week between them. On that modest sum 
they lodged, ate, drank, amused themselves, and even dressed 
becomingly. From it they scraped enough for their daily ven- 
ture, taken in turn, at the roulette-table. If they won, a little 
compdte, or some such inexpensive luxury, was added to the 
daily fare, and they would treat themselves to tickets for the 
concert in the evening. If they lost — Well ! it had to be made 
up somehow. There would be no concert, of course, and 
perhaps thej must content themselves with a glass of cau sucrce 
for dinner. And this is how people live at Homburg. 

Gerard felt he was wasting time, so, bowing to two .or three 
more acquaintances of Baden-Baden, he proceeded at once to 
another table where the trente-et-quarante was languishing tem- 
porarily for want of worshippers. Its croupier motioned with 
his rake to a vacant seat, but the Englishman preferred taking 
his stand behind a grizzled Swedish colonel, watching the tactics 
of that warrior, and his inimitable patience under the losses they 
entailed. The Swede, consulting from time to time a little 
card at his elbow, on which he marked the variations of the 
game with a pin, played obviously on some complicated system 
of his own, to which, undeterred by continuous failure, he scru- 
pulously adhered. It was provoking to observe a volatile old 
lady opposite, with a Jewish face and bony knuckles in thread 
mittens, raking her gold pieces about here and there across the 
table, at the instigation of the wildest caprice, yet invariably 
doubling her stake, while the painstaking colonel as invariably lost 
his own; but it seemed to affect the latter not the least. He 
v/ould only drum with his thin white fingers or the green cloth, 

14° The White Rose. 

arrange the bank-notes and gold remaining by his side, and put 
down the same stake in the same place, to be swept off in the 
same way as the rest. 

Two or three non-playing spectators, and an Englishman with 
wventy thousand a year, who put a sovereign nervously down 
every now and then, but changed his mind and took it up before 
the game was closed, were the only other occupants of the table. 
Gerard kept silent for two deals, intently watching the cards; 
then he observed quietly to the croupier, " Cent louis — Rouge." 

It was a larger sum than the usual stakes at that particular 
table, but the croupier of course imperturbably pushed Gerard's 
two rouleaux to the place indicated, and in a minute's time the 
monotonous declaration, " Trente deux. Rouge gagne!" in- 
creased them by the same amount. He left the whole untouched 
for the next deal, and again red was the winner. Gerard had 
now a sum of four hundred napoleons on the table. 

"A la masse'" inquired the croupier, observing no indication 
on the part of the player to withdraw or modify his stake. 

"A la masse!" repeated the Englishman calmly. Black 
stopped at thirty-three, and the whole came into possession of 
the bank. 

" Encore un coup ! " said Gerard, smiling. "Cinq cent louis 
— Noir!" 

Unfortunately the cards seemed inclined to see-saw. The old 
Jewess had just pushed her venture across the table. Red won, 
and Gerard lost nearly five hundred pounds. 

"This won't do," muttered the unsuccessful player in English. 
" Business is business. It serves me right for not getting to 
work in proper form." 

Thus speaking, he entered the inner room, took a chair by 
the dealer, pushed a bill across the table, in return for which he 
was supplied with a quantity of bank-notes and gold, neatly done 
up in rouleaux. These represented his winnings at Baden- 
Baden, and indeed constituted his whole capital. Piling them 
systematically at his elbow, he took a card and a pin, glanced 
round as though to observe the calibre of his associates against 
the common enemy, and so cleared boldly for action. 

The others took little notice of him. They consisted of a 
Russian princess losing heavily behind a broad green fan ; an 
English peer throwing the second fortune he had inherited after 
the first with perfect good-humour and sang-froid; two or three 
swindlers on a grand scale, not yet found out; and a dirty little 
man, of nc particular nation, whose hat and cane were held by 

" Suivre la Gagnante." 141 

a tawdry, over-dressed, hard-featured, shrill-voiced Greek woman, 
and who was winning enormously with the air of being used to 
it. Indeed, if there is any truth in a well-known proverb and 
its converse, he looked as if he ought to be extremely success- 
ful at all games of chance. 

It is needless to follow Gerard through the various ups and 
downs of an hour's play. At the end of forty minutes he was 
nearly cleaned out ; the black, which it was his habit to back, 
winning more rarely than common. A happy inspiration then 
induced him to place a rouleau on the red. It came up — he 
left it there. Again ! again ! still his stake went on doubling 

He believed he had got iiiio what gamblers call a serie, and 
he made a little mental vow that if he could win six times 
running he would march off with his plunder, cut the whole 
thing, and return to England. 

With considerable fortitude he left his increasing stake un- 
touched. The fifth time red came up, his winnings amounted 
to sixteen hundred napoleons. To trust his luck successfully 
once more would be to land between two and three thousand 
pounds ; and now, had Gerard proved himself a thorough gambler, 
his venture would have been crowned with success. 

A thorough gambler has but two interests in the world — 
himself and his stake. These fill his whole heart, and there is 
no room for anything else. Who ever heard of his being in- 
fluenced by such weakness as the perfume of a flower, the 
melody of a strain, or the sound of a once-loved voice ' 

Alas for Gerard ! that old Lady Baker, drinking the waters at 
Homburg because her skin was growing yellow as a duck's bill, 
should have taken this particular opportunity of satisfying her 
thirst for general information, by entering the room in which 
the highest play in Europe was said to be carried on, and should 
have brought a companion with her — a pale, handsome, listless 
companion, on whom even her ladyship's losses at roulette — 
" Two double- Frederics, my dear, and the. same yesterday ; I 
shall be in the Bench if ever I reach home!" — made no im- 
pression ; who was not even interested in the ball last night, the 
concert this evening, nor the balloon going up to-morrow ; who 
little imagined she cared for anything at Homburg, except 
the railway carriage that would take her away, or that Gerard 
Ainslie was sitting within six feet of her, hidden by two stout 
German barons who stood behind his chair. 

Lady Bakei penetrated but a little way into the gambling- 

141 The Wliile Rose. 

room. She had scarcely got her eye-glasses in position when 
the other pulled her back. 

"It's very hot here," observed Mrs. Vandeleur; " and I 
detest the whole thing. Let us go out on the terrace." And 
the two ladies swept through a glass door into the open air. 

It was a short sentence, but the full, low, characteristic tones 
leaped straight to Gerard's heart. With the start of a man who 
is shot, he rose to his feet, much to the astonishment of the 
imperturbable croupier over against him, but he forced himself 
to sit down again, though mechanically, like one in a dream. 
Mechanically, too, he pushed the whole of his large stake across 
the table into the compartment allotted to the other colour, and 
then watched the deal with open mouth and strange stupified gaze. 
Elack tried hard to win, for the numbers came up thirty-two, 
and even from those fire-proof players rose the hushed stir and 
murmur of intense excitement ; but the run was destined to 
continue yet once more, and the lower line of cards dealt for 
red stopped exactly at thirty-one ! 

Had it been otherwise, Gerard's inconsistent play would have 
been lauded for a master-stroke of strategy. As it turned out, 
the Russian princess, whose faith had been less unstable, simply 
muttered, " C'est un imbecile !" as she raked her own winnings 
together, with a contemptuous smile. 

Gerard did not lack presence of mind; few men do who have 
led, even for a few months, such a life as his ; and in less than 
a minute he had reflected calmly, not only on his own bad play, 
but on the absurdity of rushing out after Mrs. Vandeleur then 
and there, which had been his first impulse, when he might be 
quite sure of finding her, as anybody may be quite sure of 
finding anybody else in Homburg, at five or six different 
gatherings during the day. Therefore he collected his thoughts, 
counted the remnants of his capital, and summoned all his 
energies to retrieve his failure. 

But Fortune is a jealous mistress, brooking no rival, and, 
above all, intolerant of such an insult as Gerard's last incon* 

In a quarter of an hour he walked out on the perron, amongst 
blooming flowers and laughing children, without a florin left, to 
all intents and purposes an utterly ruined man. 

The Woman he Loved. 143 



And it was not yet dinner-time ! The whole thing had been 
done in less than an hour and a quarter ! He was at his wits' 
end, no doubt. He had never before experienced anything like 
such " a facer " as this. And the worst part of it was that he 
must go back and tell Fanny the truth — tell her they had not 
a shilling left — tell her that unless she happened to find some 
loose change in her pocket, they could not even pay for their 
dinner at the table d'hote. And yet will it be believed that a 
single drop could sweeten the whole of this bitter cup? — the 
mere chance, the possibility of seeing and speaking to Norah just 
once again ! 

He sought her in vain along the perron, up and down the 
terraces, round and round the gardens. Scores of handsome; 
well-dressed women were strolling and loitering about, but 
Mrs. Vandeleur had gone home and was nowhere to be seen. 
This disappointment vexed him far more than his losses. He 
even found himsel wondering with the wonder of some one 
else, as it seems to a man under strong excitement, that he 
should accept ruin so calmly, that everything real and tangible 
should thus count as nothing compared to a lost, hopeless, im- 
possible love ! 

It was an ill-omened frame of mind in which to return home 
and consult his wife on what they should do next. No wonder 
the German servant he met in the passage, looking after him, 
shook her flaxen head, scared by the pale face and impatient 
gestures of the English Herr, usually so bright, and cordial, and 
kind. No wonder Fanny, still radiant from Tourbillon's unde- 
clared admiration, felt a presentiment of what was coming when 
Gerard entered their sitting-room with a bounce, and threw 
himself morosely, still gloved and hatted, into an armchair. 

"That d d Frenchman s been here again!" was the 

remark with which he opened the conversation. "The place 
smells like a hair-dresser's shop ! " 

It was a vanity of Tourbillon s to affect some sweet and rare 
perfume of which the fragrance remained long after he had 
departed. Music, flowers, song scent, and sentiment— all these 
were weapons of which he made judicious use at the proper 

144 The White Rose. 

"The Count has been here," answered Fanny, preparing for 
battle. "You needn't swear, Gerard, all the same." 

" I beg your pardon," he replied, bitterly. " You never were 
used to coarse language — never heard it, I should think, till you 
married me. It don't much matter now. You must be told 
the truth, and there's no time to pick and choose words, when 
the whole game is up !" 

She was going to retort angrily, but something in his face 
stopped her. 

"What truth? — what game?" said she, with clasped hands 
and anxious eyes. " What is it, Gerard ? Tell me, dear. You're 
ill, I'm sure — or — or, you've lost more than you can pay >" 

"A man can't well do that here!" he answered, with a 
grim smile. " Ready money seems to be the word with these 
foreigners, when you've got it. When you haven't, it's go to 
the devil whichever way you like, only don't be long about it ! 
That's what I had best do, Fan. Look you here. It has come 
at last, and I haven't a shilling left in the world." 

He hardened his face to meet the reproaches he expected, 
standing up and squaring his shoulders, with his hands in his 
pockets. It put him out of his calculations altogether, that she 
should run to him, and throw her arms round his neck. 

"I don't care," she sobbed, forgetting all her lady's language 
and good grammar. " I don't care — I don't care no more nor 
nothing ! Never heed it, deary, — never fear ! I'll work my 
fingers for you to the bone, I will ! Only you'll be my own 
now, won't you ? My own lad, as you've never been afore." 

He was touched, softened. He looked down into her eyes 
with tears in his own. But to be thus taken possession of, while 
Norah was not two hundred yards off — and in such language, 
too ! It grated horribly. I believe if she had spoken good 
English, and left out the appropriation clause altogether, she 
might on this occasion have conquered once for all. 

" It needn't be quite so bad as that," said he, putting her away 
from him gently and tenderly enough. " If I could get back to 
England, something surely might be done. But how to clear 
out from here ! How to pay for the lodgings and be allowed to 
leave the country, that is what puzzles me ! Oh ! what a fool 
I have been all through ! " 

That last sentence changed the whole current of her feelings. 
He had not met her as she wished. Her heart was getting sore 
again, and hardening every moment. She took her bonnet (such 
3 sweet little bonnet, with one red rose at the side !) out of its 

The Woman he Loved. 145 

drawer, and began to tie it on with trembling fingers, opposite 
the glass. 

" You have been a fool, Gerard," she muttered. " Never a 
bigger fool than to-day ! Ay ! you've lost a deal more than 
money or money's worth, only you don't know it ! " Then she 
turned on him with a fixed, resolute face, ?md said quite 
calmly — 

" I'm going out for half an hour, Mr. Ainslie. I think, per- 
haps, I can be of service to you. Please hand me that parasol." 

" Where are you going ? " he asked, carelessly j " isn't it neai 
dinner-time? " 

She smiled — a hard, pitiless smile, that seemed to spare neither 
herself nor him. 

" I am going to get you what you want," she answered. " I 
can't promise, but I fancy I can bring you back the best part of 
a hundred pounds." 

" You are going to ask your Frenchman for it, I suppose," said 
he, with a sneer. " Mrs. Ainslie, I've stood a good deal, but I 
will not stand that." 

The hard smile deepened on her face. 

" I am not going to ask my Frenchman, as you call him, fen* 
a shilling ! " was her reply. "When the time comes, perhaps 
his answer to such a request will be a kinder one than I've ever 
had from you ! " and looking straight in his face while she de- 
livered this parting shot, the miller's daughter sailed out of the 
room like a queen. 

Women certainly make themselves acquainted far more rapidly 
than men with the details of " the world they live in." How 
could Fanny have learned that the Vandeleurs were at Homburg ? 
How could she be sure of meeting Mrs. Vandeleur on her way 
from the Louisen-Briinnen at this particular hour ? Sawdor had 
certainly transferred his patient to Von Saufen-Kelch, and Von 
Saufen-Kelch's directions were to drink a glass of this sparkling 
mineral fasting, walk gently for half an hour, and then — drink 
another ! But how could Mrs. Ainslie tell that Norah would 
so scrupulously follow the honest German's simple prescription ? 
Whatever might be the basis of Fanny's calculations, they were 
so correct that in less than ten minutes she met the very person 
she wanted within twenty paces of the spring. 

There was no mistaking that lithe, undulating figure at any 
distance off. We must be allowed a sporting simile sometimes — 
Mrs. Vandeleur looked like a racehorse amongst hacks in every 
company she frecuented, in none more than when surrounded 

I \f) The White Rose. 

by the elite of a London drawing-room. Now, as she was 
coming up the gravelled pathway, Fanny could not but acknow- 
ledge the grace of that tall, slender figure, with its gliding, snake- 
like ease of movement ; the charm of that small, well-poised head, 
with its delicate temples, its golden chestnut hair, its pale, chi- 
selled features, and deep, dark, melancholy eyes. 

As the women met each other, face to face, Mrs. Ainslie had 
the advantage of being prepared for the encounter ; Norah, on 
the contrary, was exceedingly startled and disturbed. 

She had not seen Fanny since their well-remembered interview 
in the Rectory garden. She had thought of her indeed very often, 
and always with mingled feelings not devoid of that tender, 
though painful interest, which a woman's heart can still take in 
any object, even a successful rival, connected with the man she 
must no longer love. Being a well-conducted person, in a cer- 
tain position, Mrs. Vandeleur's better judgment should of course 
have decided on keeping such an adventuress as Fanny at a dis- 
tance, but Norah's character possessed a little Bohemian tinge 
of its own. She was not without sympathy for a recklessness 
prompted by affection, of which she felt herself quite capable 
under similar temptation. Though she hated Fanny for running 
away with the man they both loved, it was with an honest, open 
hatred that did not prevent admiration for her daring, even 
something akin to respect for her success. 

Altogether, if time had been given for consideration, she would 
probably have determined on meeting Mrs. Ainslie with the cold, 
formal greeting of a distant acquaintance; but time was not given, 
for the latter came on her almost too quickly for recognition, and 
with considerable tact under the circumstances plunged at once 
in mcdias res. 

" Oh ! Miss Welby, Miss Welby ! " said Fanny in a broken 
voice, and seizing Norah's hands in her own, " I ask your pardon 
indeed, for I should say Mrs. Vandeleur, but things are so changed 
now with you and me. And we're ruined ! — we are ! We haven't 
a penny to bless ourselves left, and never a friend in this foreign 
country but yourself, Miss Welby,- — I mean Mrs. Vandeleur ; and 
if you won't help us, I'm sure I don't know what to do no more 
than a child — I don't ! I don't ! " 

" Ruined !" repeated Norah, shocked, and, it must be admitted, 
utterly taken aback by so unexpected an ebullition. " Ruined 
Fanny ! " (she could not quite bring herself to say Mrs. Ainslie). 
" My good girl, what do you mean ? Has anything happened 
to your husband? " (Here her voice faltered a little.) "Is il 

The Woman he LoVed. 1 4 7 

sorrow, or sickness, or what is it ? Of course, I'll help you, if I 

Fanny carried the shapely, well-gloved hand she held up to her 
lips. Impulsive, impressionable, a natural actress, she threw her- 
sell unreservedly into the sentiment of the moment, and if such 
a paradox is admissible, could be sincere even in her duplicity. 

" I knew you would," she murmured, her fine eyes filling with 
real tears ; " I knew you would. I haven't forgotten what a kind 
heart you always had. It's money we want, Mrs. Vandeleur; 
money to take us back to England. We haven't so much as a 
florin left to get us a dinner ! " 

The tears had come to Norahs blue eyes, too, and for a moment 
Fanny's heart smote her to meet so kindly a sympathy ; but it 
hardened again directly with the jealousy that survives in such 
hearts, long after love is dead, for Norah exclaimed all uncon- 
sciously — 

" You don't mean that Gerard — that Mr. Ainslie is starving ! 
Gracious heavens ! and I to know nothing of it ! You mustn't 
stay a minute ! You must go to him directly. Tell me at once. 
How much money do you want ? " 

Fanny reflected. " A hundred pounds," said she, " would take 
us to England and set us up again. At least, would put us in 
the way of getting a livelihood." 

" A hundred pounds only ! " echoed Norah, with that glorious 
contempt for a hundred pounds entertained by every woman who 
does not know what it is to live on her own resources, and by 
a good many who do. " You shall have it directly. Come with 
me this instant. The idea of poor Gerard having no dinner for 
want of a hundred pounds ! " 

She had forgotten all about his folly, his inconstancy, and even 
his wife, though the latter was walking by her side ; forgotten 
everything but that her Gerard, whom she used so to love, was 
starving, and she could help him ! But could she help him ? 
The doubt came on her like the shock of a shower-bath. Mrs. 
Vandeleur's stock of ready-money was usually at a low ebb ; in 
fact, she seldom wanted any. The servants, always had change, 
and Mr. Vandeleur paid all her bills, to do him justice, without 
a murmur, though they were of no trifling amount, Norah being 
inclined to carelessness on such matters,— so that really she seldom 
found occasion to put her hand in her pocket. To-day she 
knew she had one florin in a ridiculous little porte-monnaie she 
insisted on carrying about, because she had given its fellow to 
the girl at the well. This was the whole of capital. She 

148 The White Rose 

rememberel there was neither kreutier, nor groschen, nor sou, not 
halfpenny, nor any denomination of coin, foreign or British, in the 
jewel-case at home. Stay ! The jewel-case ! Might not jewels 
help her out here, as effectually as gold ? She glanced down to her 
shapely arm ; at its wrist dangled a bracelet, in which were set 
two or three precious stones, of undoubted value — a trinket, not 
in the best taste, but worth a good deal of money : one of Van- 
deleur's many gifts since her marriage. Surely, this was the 
very thing. 

"In here, Fanny!" she exclaimed, hurrying her companion 
into a flashy little shop, or rather stall, displaying beads, crystals, 
drinking-cups, views of the Taunus, rubbish for all tastes, and 
cheap jewellery of every description. 

In a moment her bracelet was dashed on the counter, and 
under inspection by a German Jew, with a dim gold ring on a 
dirty forefinger, who shook his head depreciatingly, of course, as 
he would have shaken it by instinct if requested to advance a 
hundred florins on the Koh-i-noor diamond. 

It was no novelty to this cautious speculator thus to examine 
feminine personalties. Everybody in Homburg passed his shop 
five or six times a day, and he was in the hourly habit of pricing 
all kinds of articles at one-third of their market-value, and even 
giving for them as much as half. A kind little man, too, in 
manner, and a friendly, notwithstanding his faith, his profession, 
and his grimy hands. 

Mrs. Vandeleur was always a little impetuous. " There ! " 
said she in her native language — "take that ; the stones are real, 
and it's good gold. Give me a hundred pounds sterling for it — 
and be quick." 

He spoke English, of course, in his own way, as he spoke 
half-a-dozen European tongues. Poising the bracelet in his 
hand, he looked blandly into Norah's face, and observed — 

" A hundred gulden, honourable lady — a hundred gulden 
(mintz) ; or you shall have your English money at 1 1 48, the 

rate of exchange this morning in Frankfort, and — and ," 

observing the cloud on his customer's brow, " anything else you 
like out of my shop, for an andenken, honourable lady. There 
is lric-a-lrac and French clocks, and ver' goot Turkish shawls 
behind there, and slippers, and amber, und so weiter, und so 
weiter," bowing lower and looking more persuasive with every 
fresh enumeration. 

"One hundred pounds!" repeated Norah, shutting her lips 
tight, as was her habit when very much in earnest. " 1 1 '». worth 

" The Woman he Married? 149 

more than two, I know. Take it, or leave it ! There's another 
shop three doors lower down." 

" Fifty, honourable lady. Sixty — seventy !" expostulated the 
buyer, increasing his bid every time he looked at Mrs. Vande- 
kur's unyielding face. " Eighty and five ! Well, well, to favour 
a gracious and honourable lady, let us say a hundred, and ten 
guldens thrown back. Not a florin ! Not a kreutzer ! Ah ! 
be it so. Bot I sail gain nozing, gar nichts, ven I send him to 
Frankfort to be sold;" and the old fellow counted out the 
monev in French and German paper with an admirable assump- 
tion of combining the courtesy due to a lady with the satisfaction 
of performing a charitable action. 

Norah crumpled it all up together and left the shop, scarce 
deigning to return a nod for the many bows and entreaties for 
her future custom, with which the little man ushered her out. 

No sooner was she in the street, than she pushed the packet 
into Mrs. Ainslie's hands. "Take it, Fanny," she said, "and 
welcome. Heartily welcome ! Only," and here her eyes looked 
wild, and her voice came as if she were choking, "whatever 
happens, don't — don't tell him that it comes from me ? " 

They were close to her own door, and dropping her veil over 
her face, she ran in without another word. Mr. Vandeleur had 
got tired of waiting, and gone off to dinner. Therefore it is 
reasonable to suppose that Norah would go at once to her own 
room, and soothe her feelings with the refreshment of " a good 


"the woman he married.* 

Fanny looked after her long and earnestly for more than a 
minute. Then the face, usually so soft and rosy, turned hard 
and pale. 

"She loves him!" muttered Mrs. Ainslie, clenching the 
soiled notes in her gloved hand ; " she loves my husband— loves 
him still ! Ay ! and the right way too. I think I know how a 
woman should care for a man ! I wonder what he feels about 
it? I'll find out before I'm an hour older. It's time some- 
thing was done, and if it's as I think, why he'll live to repent it, 
perhaps, that's all ! I'm not the woman to be deceived and put 
upon, I can tell my lord ! There's others besides him, just as good 

i jo The White Rose. 

gentlefolks, too, that can look sweet and speak kind. Ah! a 
worm will turn upon you if you'll only tread hard enough ; and 
I ain't quite a worm yet — very far from it !" 

Thus Mrs. Ainslie, looking, indeed, very unlike a worm in 
her pretty dress and her sparkling beauty, that even an angry 
face could not wholly destroy. She had not far to go, perhaps 
scarcely a quarter of a mile, but into that short walk Fanny 
compressed the reflections and the possibilities of a lifetime. 
She reviewed her own past, but only since she had known 
Gerard ; previous to that era it seemed well to ignore, even to 
herself, the habits and inclinations of her girlhood. She went 
back to the first day they met in the sweet early summer under 
the willows by Ripley-water, but the tears began to gather, 
and she forced herself not to dwell too long on that memorable 
walk. Even with its golden recollections was mingled the alloy 
of Miss Welby's presence, and Fanny could have cursed the fair, 
white face that had thus come always between her and happiness 
— wifully forgetting that but for Miss Welby's rare beauty and 
Vandeleur's unscrupulous spirit of intrigue, she had never so 
much as made the acquaintance of the man who was now her 

Neither did she like to think too much of the happy time, 
despite its keen anxiety, when he lay between life and death, and 
she had him all to herself, to watch and tend and love, with 
trembling hopes and fears, in sweet uncertainty whether that 
love would ever be returned. How well she remembered the 
i! iy when he came back from the confines of death to eat his 
chicken-broth like a living man, when, weakened by watching 
and anxiety, she burst into tears from sheer pleasure at the sight. 
Oh! for that happy time once more! and now it could never, 
never come again ! 

She could have wept freely, but that something fierce in 
Fanny's nature, a spirit of rebellion against pain, always came 
to the surface under suffering; and a reactionary sentiment of 
pity for herself, such as she would have felt for another, ere she 
had time to melt, hardened her back into wrath. He had never 
loved her, she thought — not even when he took her to his breast 
that day. It was only gratitude, that was all, and a young 
man's fancy for a pretty face. She had a pretty face, she knew 
it ; and there were others thought so besides him. She would 
have made him a good wife, perhaps, if he had let her, but he 
never would 1st her; and after all, maybe, it wasn't' in her 
nature to t>e steady for long. What was the use of trying to 

" The Woman he Married." ljl 

be good? It certainly hadn't answered with her. Best take 
things as they come, and " so let the world jog along as it will." 

" And that there Frenchman/' continued Fanny, pursuing 
her meditations half aloud, " he 'd take me away to-morrow, 
and welcome, if I was only to hold up my finger ! And why 
shouldn't I hold up my finger ? It wouldn't break Gerard's 
heart. I don't believe he'd even go to tbr- station to ask what 
train I 'd started by. And the other 's a real gentleman after 
all — a nobleman, as I believe; and I do think he loves the very 
ground 1 walk on. Is a girl never to have a home? never to 
know the worth of an honest mans affection? It's not been 
mine yet, but I should like to try. Gerard had better look out. 
If he don't alter his conduct he '11 find the cage open and the 
bird flown. Ah ! it 's not the bird that he wants in his own nest. 
She s got gilt wires round her, and perhaps she beats her breast 
against them harder than any of us think for. Dear! dear! 
it's a bad business altogether, and if it don't get better I'm in 
two minds whether 1 won't take French leave. French leave, 
indeed ! if the Count will chance it, why, so will I. I've done 
a good stroke of business to-day, at any rate. I wonder whether 
Gerard w ; ll think so? At least I've done it for him. I wonder 
whether any other woman would have done half as much. It 
wasn't so easy to ask her for charity. What could I do ? Van- 
del uur ? I know him too well. He said that cheque should be 
the last ; and when the Squire won't, why he won't — not if 
you was gasping for a mouthful of bread at his feet. Well, 
Gerard, it's about done at last, lad ; but perhaps you and me 
will part friends after all !" 

She had reached their lodgings now, and ascended the stairs 
with some vague unacknowledged hope that she might have 
judged her husband too harshly. Perhaps he had got over his 
infatuation about Mrs. Vandeleur, another man's wife and all ! 
thought Fa.'viy. Perhaps it was but a boy's fancy, and he had 
forgotten it, as men do forget such youthful weaknesses — men 
aud women too : she had buried a dozen of them, and eveu their 
ghosts never rose to disturb her now. Well, a few minu'.es 
would show. She could love him yet, for all that was come 
and gone, if he would but give her the chance. 

He was sitting in an armchair, plunged in gloomy thought, 
with his eyes fixed on the empty stove. His hat was still on 
his head ; he had not even taken off his gloves. Whatever 
might be the subject of his meditations, at least it was engross, 
ing. He did not even hear her come into the room. 


154 The Write Rose 

Twenty-four hours ago she would have stolen behind him and 
laid her hand on his shoulder — perhaps turned his face up and 
given it a saucy kiss. She was too proud to do so now, but 
placing herself directly in his front, observed coldly, and in a 
tone little calculated to conciliate — 

" I am sorry to disturb you, Mr Ainslie, but I have been 
about your business, and have done, I think, as much as you 
could wish." 

He gave a great start. He was dreaming of Marston Rectory 
— the roses, the cedar-tree, the lawn, the work-table, the slender 
girlish figure, the fond pale face, with its dark eyes and its 
golden chestnut hair. He woke to Homburg, ruin, and an ex- 
asperated wife; beautiful indeed and brilliant of complexion, 
but hard, indignant, bearing on her forehead the well-known 
frown, that denoted a domestic storm at hand. 

"My business?" he asked shortly ; "I didn't know I had 
any! Nor pleasure neither, for the matter of that !" 

" You needn't sneer," she replied, commanding herself with an 
effort, though the dark eyes flashed ominously. " So long as I 
remain with you, so long as I fulfil my duty as a wife, your 
interests are mine. I have been looking after them to-day. 
Count that money, sir. Oh ! I'm not going to cheat you. If 
I'm right you'll find it exactly a hundred pounds ! " 

He was so surprised that he never thought of telling over the 
notes she held out, not even taking them from her hand. He 
stared blankly in his wife's face. 

" A hundred pounds ! " said he. "Why? what? how do you 
mean ? Fanny, how could you ever come by a hundred pounds ?" 

Rather a hard smile lightened in her dark eyes, and showed 
her white teeth, while she answered — 

"That's my business; yours is to take and do the best you can 
with it. I'm not such a fool, Gerard, after all, though I hadn't 
the luck to be a lady born." 

He winced. Somehow she always said the very thing that 
irritated him most. It is no unusual drawback to married life, 
this same knack of " rubbing the hair" the wrong way; and I 
think it helps to bring a very large proportion of cases into the 
K Court of Probate," &c. 

"At least," said he, after a moment's pause, "I have a right 
to know where this comes from. You never had a hundred 
pounds of your own in your life, Fanny ; nor anything worth 
a hundred pounds !" 

"Not jw*i," she answered, with an impatient little tap of her 

" The Woman he Married.' I$3 

foot against the floor. "But as the Count says, 'Qui sait enfin 
ce qui arrivera ?'" 

The atrocious British accent of this quotation grated on his 
ear less than the mention of the Count's name. 

" I have a right to know, Fanny," he repeated, in a stern 
commanding tone, against which she was sure to rebel. "I 
desire you will tell me the truth at once." 

"Then I just won't!" she answered, remembering Norah's 
stipulation, and thirsting for battle on her own account, wounded 
as she felt in her better feelings, and falling more and more 
under the dominion of her worse. 

When a woman takes up such a position it is somewhat dif- 
ficult to dislodge her. The only chance is that she seldom holds 
it for any length of time, abandoning it usually for the shelter 
of some grievance, real or imaginary. 

" I can come to but one conclusion, then," said Gerard, 
mounting the high horse. " It must have been furnished by 
Count Tourbillon, and I decline to have anything to do with 
it — or with you either, after to-day !" 

She turned perfectly white in her anger now. She had enough 
of right she felt on her side to justify any outbreak of temper, 
any breach of confidence. She forgot her promise to Norah, 
she forgot her duty to her husband, forgot everything but the 
bitter, cruel insult under which she writhed. 

"It is not from Count Tourbillon!" she exclaimed j " and 
you are a base coward to say it is ! I have it in charity — charity 
— from your old sweetheart ! It's from Mrs. Vandeleur — there ! 
Perhaps you'll take it now ; for I do believe as you worship the 
very ground she walks on ! " 

He covered his face with his hands. 

" God knows I do !" was all he murmured. 

It was too much for Fanny. That stricken look, that sorrow- 
ing voice, that muttered confession, wrung by surprise and 
suffering, proved more than a thousand protestations. She saw 
it all, and it pierced her like a knife. 

With a gesture of intense irritation she flung the little crum- 
pled-up bundle of notes at her hushand's head, swept out of the 
room, banging the door fiercely behind her, and walked down 
9tairs without trusting herself to say another word. 

'54 Trie White Rose. 



Gerard, left alone with his own reflections, sat for a while in 
a brown study opposite the stove. By degrees, the past came 
back in regular succession, like the scenes of a diorama, or rather 
faint and distorted as on the slides of a magic lantern. It was 
with a thrill of something akin to actual happiness that he con- 
sidered his utter ruin, for, had it not brought him the assurance 
that he still lived in Norah s memory, nay, that he still occupied 
some portion of a heart, once wholly his own ? For a moment, 
I say, he was almost happy. Then came the self-torture to 
which such dispositions are peculiarly subject ; the misgivings 
from which coarser organisations, secure in their own good 
opinion, are wholly free j the morbid depreciation of its real 
value, so often entertained by an engrossing affection acting on 
a sensitive and imaginative temperament, not yet experienced 
in the selfishness of mankind, and ignorant how rare, and con- 
sequently how precious, is an honest, undivided love, adulterated 
by no considerations of interest or vanity or advancement. He 
remembered now the painful longing, the weary waiting in his 
comfortless lodgings for the letter that never came. Would he 
have done so by her ? Not to save his life a hundred times ! 
No ; she could not really have loved him. Had she not given 
the clearest possible proof of her indifference ? Was she not 
another man's wife ? The haughty, happy wife of an affectionate 
husband, willing and rich enough to indulge her in every fancy 
and every whim? To help her old lover with a sum of money 
she did not want, as you threw rour dog scraps from your plate 
at luncheon, seemed to be the last caprice ; and was her dog to 
take it with s^'vile, grateful gestures, and mild, fawning eyes ? 
Her faithful cog, once ready to face death itself willingly foi 
one caressing wave of the white hand, one kind look in the blue 
eyes ! No ; he would be a dog indeed, if he cotild accept such 
an indignity from the woman who had trodden his heart under 
foot without compunction or remorse ! Stung by the thoughts 
he rose from his chair, and picked the notes off the floor where 
they lay as Fanny had thrown them down. He would send 
them back to Mrs. Vandeleur that very afternoon. It would be 
an excuse at least for writing — only a few lines, expressing 
gratitude- of course, hut cold, polite, and with a covert bitterness 

The Passion. 155 

in every word, that should cut her false heart to the quick ' 
Instinctively he examined the roll and counted over the notes; 
with the addition of a few Napoleons enclosed, the sum amounted 
<o exactly a hundred pounds. While he told them over, a 
temptation came strong upon him to take them back to her 
himself} through much pride and sorely wounded feelings rose 
the unconquerable thirst to hear that well-known voice, to look 
in that dear face once again — the longing that has saved many 
a heart from shipwreck, as it has lured many another to de- 

There is a story in one of our ancient romances exemplifying 
the mastery of this ill-advised "desire of the eyes,"' even in 
extremity of mortal danger, which is not without a moral, 
though couched in a grim pathetic humour of its own. Ren- 
dered into modern English, it runs almost as follows : — 

" Now, the king held a tournament, and caused heralds to 
proclaim that at high noon the Knight of the Falcon would give 
battle to all comers, by sound of trumpet ; to run three courses 
with thrust of lance, and exchange three sword strokes, point 
and edge, in honour of the king's betrothed bride, whom none 
had yet seen, for she was coming to share his throne from her 
father's castle beyond the Northern Sea. And if any knight 
would uphold that his ladye-love was aught but sun-burned in 
comparison with this unknown damsel, he must accept mortal 
defiance from the challenger, and so give him battle a. Toutrance. 
Therefore, the Knight of the Falcon hung his shield under the 
gallery, where sat the king surrounded by his nobles and their 
dames; but because it was the shield of a famous warrior, with 
whom issue must be tried, not by weapons of courtesy but to 
the death, men passed it by untouched, and it seemed that the 
beauty of the unknown queen would be established in a bloodless 

" Sc the heralds blew ;heir trumpets loudly, and some of the 
ladies m the king's gallery whispered that their brows must 
indeed be sun-burned, since their lovers had grown so sparing of 
lance- .-hsff nnd sword-Llade; but the Lady Elinor laughed scorn- 
fully, sue' S3 id to her companions, ' Behold, though my knight 
,s under a vow, that he will neither speak in my presence, nor 
look in my face, till Pentecost be come and past, yet will he 
adventure man and horse, life and limb, to uphold mine honour 
this day, as ve shall see before the heralds shall have sounded 
one more trumpet blast.' 

" Even while she spoke, Sir Fglamor, called, after his vow, 

i$6 The White Rose. 

' the Silent Knight/ rode lightly into the lists, and struck hn 
lance-point fair and free against the hanging shield till it rang 
again, but spake never a word the while, and though his vizor 
was up, kept his eyes fixed on the mailed gauntlets at his saddle- 
bow, because of his vow and his ladye-love, who looked down 
on him from the gallery above. Nevertheless, the blood came 
bright and glowing into his face, so that the Lady Elinor 
thought her knight had never seemed so fair as when he clasped 
his vizor, and wheeled his horse to his post, and laid his lance 
knightly in the rest. 

" So the trumpets sounded, and the knights ran three courses, 
shivering their lances to the grasp without advantage lost or won 
on either side. Wherefore, they drew their good swords, and 
laid on with mighty strokes for honour and renown. 

" Now the Knight of the Falcon pressed his adversary sore, 
and drove him to the barriers, and plied him with sweeping 
blade under the king's gallery j but the Silent Knight spied 
a crevice beneath the other's vaunt-brace, and drew back his 
arm to speed a deadly thrust that should win for Lady Elinor 
the victory. 

" She was leaning over to watch him, and beholding her knight 
as it seemed to her thus at disadvantage, she turned deadly pale, 
uttering a faint scream of pity and terror and dismay. 

" Then the Silent Knight forgot his vow, and his skill of arms, 
and his sore need in mortal strife, to look up once again in the 
pale scared face he loved so well. Once again, and never more ! 
for the whirling blade came crashing down, and shore through 
floating plume and good steel helmet, and bit deep into the skull, 
so that the Silent Knight fell heavily beneath the trampling 
horses j and when his squire ran in to unclasp his vizor, he neither 
spoke nor lifted his eyes, nor moved again. 

" Said the Lady Elinor, 'Alas, for my true knight ! that even 
in his mortal peril he could not refrain his eyes from this poor 
face. Never shall it be unveiled in the sight of men again ! ' 

" So she kept her vow till nigh Pentecost twelvemonth, and 
knights and dames declared that the Lady Elinor had mourned 
for her true love right maidenly and well." 

In obedience, then, to the dictate of this morbid craving, 
Gerard sallied forth to traverse the gardens of the Kursaal, with 
the hope of seeing Mrs. Vandeleur once more. It was impro- 
bable that his search would be successful, inasmuch as the hour 
had arrived at which it was the habit of those visitors to go to 
dinner, who preserved the customs of civilised life, and felt 

The Ruling Passion. 159 

unequal to a heavy German meal of five courses at one o'clock. 
He walked up one alley and down another without seeing a 
human being, except the tidy, prosperous, essentially Saxon 
maiden who presided over the Louisen-Briinnen, and whose 
smile was sweet, whose blue eyes were placid, as if there were 
no such things* as aching hearts or broken fortunes in the 
world. She only nodded pleasantly in answer to his inquiring 
glances, reached him a mug of the sparkling water, and, uw 
moved by his refusal, went on calmly with her knitting as 

He could not bring himself to call at Vandeleur's house and 
ask point-blank if Norah was at home, so he was easily persuaded 
she must have gone to dinner at the crowded tahte-d'hdte in thft 
Kursaal, and there was nothing for it but to wait till that pro- 
tracted meal should come to an end. He thought once of join- 
ing the two hundred feasters, but he could not have eaten a 
morsel to save his life. Besides — and the reflection was a little 
startling — he had not a farthing of money in his pocket, except 
that hundred of Norah's which he had resolved not to touch. 
So he thought he would walk to and fro amongst the poplars, 
and revolve what he should say to her when they did meet, 
conducting in his own mind an impassioned dialogue conveying 
sentiments of unaltered affection on both sides, based on an 
imaginary avowal from the lady which it was most improbable 
she would make. 

He was getting on remarkably well in his own opinion, and 
had forgotten the existence of Vandeleur, and even Fanny, as 
completely as if he were still Mr. Archer's pupil, speeding across 
the flats toMarston Rectory, when a little cloud that had gathered 
on the brows of the Taunus dissolved into a gentle summer shower, 
before it could reach the Maine. Not an idler but himself was 
out of doors, and seeing it must pass over in a few minutes, he 
took shelter in one of the roulette-rooms opening on tke perron 
of the Kursaal. 

The game, though languishing, was not without a few sup- 
porters. The ball clicked at intervals into its numbered pigeon- 
holes, and the drowsy voice of the croupier was to be heard with 
its " rouge-pair, et passe," or its " rien ne va plus," in monotonous 
succession. A few shabby-looking players, who had dined early, 
or could not afford to dine at all, stalked round the table, like 
unquiet spirits ; and the stakes were so modest that when zero 
turned up in favour of the bank, it only netted seventeen florins 
and one napoleon of doubtful metal, not much resembling gold. 

158 The White Rose. 

With the instinct of habit, and scarce aware of what he was 
about, Gerard placed one of his louis, lately the property of Mrs. 
Vandeleur, on that column of the board which comprised what 
are termed the " middle numbers," from 13 to 25 inclusive. The 
ball ran into a compartment marked 17, and according to the 
rules of the game he won double his stake. Such encouragement 
to the venture of a professed gambler could have but one result. 
He saw before him 'he possibility of winning a large stake, of 
returning Korah the hundred pounds she had sent hire, and of 
assuring her that, while he was not indebted to her a farthing, 
she had been his good angel, and had preserved him from utter 
penury and want. A second hazard was equally successful, and 
Gerard cast himself blindly into the arms of that goddess in 
whom he had lately accustomed himself implicitly to trust. She 
failed him, as she so often fails her votaries, when they have none 
to rely on but herself. After an hour of gnawing anxiety and 
suspense, that left its traces on his features months afterwards, 
Gerard for the second time within a few hours walked out upon 
the perron literally beggared to the uttermost farthing. Nay, 
worse than this; he had lost more than food and shelter, more 
than the necessaries of life. How could he ever look Mrs. 
Vandeleur in the face again ? 

His eyes vacant and abstracted, face bloodless, hands thrust 
deep into empty pockets, coat buttoned, and hat pushed back, 
he walked with something of a drunkard's wavering step and 
gesture in the direction of his home. There seems implanted in 
human nature that instinct of the wild animal which prompts 
the hopeless, helpless sufferer to seek its own lair, there to lie 
down and die. Gerard Ainslie staggered back to his " apartment 
of four pieces " aimlessly and unconsciously, as the hurt wolf 
slinks to its den, or the sinking fox makes for the woodland in 
which he was bred. It was not till his hand touched the door 
that another pang came across him, as he remembered hit wife, 
and wondered " what he should say to Fanny! " 

He had forgotten their late diiFerence now — forgotten her 
irritating ways, her want of refinement in manner — forgotten 
even her low birth and his own lost chances — forgotten every- 
thing but that she had beauty, and loved him, and had fought 
gallantly by his svie through the ups and downs of their short 
married life ; nay, that even now she would not offer a reproach, 
but would probably try to please him more than ever, because he 
was completely undone. She had courage, he remembered ; she 
had energv and resource; but what plan could she hit upon eow? 

Disagreeable. 1 59 

or how should he excuse the imbecile recklessness and folly of 
this last fatal proceeding? 

Poor Gerard ! He need not have troubled himself on that 
score. Entering the sitting-room, he could not fail to observe 
that the box which contained Fanny's favourite finery r was absent 
from its accustomed corner. There was no work on the sofa, 
and no work-basket, while the fan she usually left by the flower- 
stand had disappeared} but on the table lay a letter, addressed 
to himself, in the clear, fui'mal handwriting he had often jested 
with her for taking so much pains to acquire. I think he knew 
the truth before he opened it. I think amongst all the mingled 
ieelings called up by its perusal, one of thankfulness for a sense 
of liberty predominated. It was short, frank enough in all 
conscience, and very much to the point :— 

" I have quitted you," it told him, " once for all. I am never 
coming back again, and will never ask to see you any more. 
Gerard, I wouldn't have gone like this if I hadn't left you some- 
thing to keep you from starving. I feel bad enough ; don't 
think me worse than I am. And I wouldn't have deserted you 
at all, only you don't love me ! — that's enough ; I'm not a-going 
to say another word. Perhaps I'd have made you a good wife if 
you'd behaved different ; but I don't bear malice. I'd say ' God 
bless you ! ' if I thought a blessing of mine could do anybody 
anything but harm. Good-bye, Gerard ! I hope you'll be happier 
some day with somebody else than you've ever been with me. 

" Fanny." 

So Gerard found himself without a wife, without friends, 
without money j outraged, insulted, ruined, lonely, desolate — 
but free. 



It is time to raturn to Mr. Vandeleur, who, like most men of 
his age, considered dinner no unimportant item in the day's pro- 
gramme, and protested vigorously against anything being suf- 
fered to interfere with that important function. It is only very 
youn^ people, I imagine, who boast they can live upon love— 
thou'^n how so light a diet supplies 'die waiits of a growing appe- 
tite I am at a loss to comprehend. John Vardeleur could still 

160 The TVhite Rose. 

find pleasure in the glance of a bright eye, the accents of a sweet 
voice ; yet was he none the less susceptible to the fascinations 
of four courses and a dessert, washed down by a bottle of Mumm's 
champagne, if no better could be got, a cup of clear coffee, and 
a chasse of cura^oa. The humours of a table d'hote also amused 
him not a little, provided he had somebody to join in his mirth j 
and he was very proud of the admiring glances elicited by Norah's 
handsome face and figure from comioisseurs of various nations, 
when she entered a crowded salle to take her place at the long 
glittering table, with its glass, fruit, flowers, trumpery, and tinsel, 
all exceedingly pleasing to the eye. Moreover, he was hungry 
after his walk on the Taunus ; therefore he waited impatiently 
in the sitting-room for five or ten minutes, ere he went and tapped 
at his wife's door. 

Mrs. Vandeleur, knowing her red eyelids would not bear in- 
spection, had locked herself in. 

" Who's there ? " she demanded sharply, from inside. 

"We shall be very late," he said, "if you're not ready. 
Hadn't I better order dinner at home ? " 

She longed for an hour's quiet ; she thirsted for ever so short 
a space of time to herself, to do battle with, and gain the mastery 
over, her own heart j so she answered a little impatiently — 

" I'm not coming — I don't want any dinner — I'm not hungry. 
Go on, and never mind me." 

" No dinner, Norah ? " replied her husband, in a tone of sur- 
prise and concern. " Are you not well, darling ? Can't I get 
you anything ? Shall I send after Von Saufenkelch — I saw him 
pass just now? " 

Her heart smote her sore. Why couldn't she love him ? He 
was so kind and considerate ; so anxious if she was ill, so for- 
bearing when she was cross. Though ungovernable with others, 
he was always a gentleman to her. And she could scarce return 
him even common gratitude for his devotion. She forced herself 
to speak in terms of kindness and affection. 

" Don't be anxious, dear," she answered, without rising from 
the bed on which she lay. " I'm only tired, and 1 have got a 
little headache. An hour's quiet will take it away. Go to 
dinner without me; I shall be all right when you come back." 

But she shuddered, and turned her wet face to the pillows, 
while his step died out along the passage. Could she go on 
bearing this ? Must it always be thus ? Was her whole life to 
be a lie ? 

Then she thanked Heaven that she had been able to help Gerard 

Disagreeable. i6"i 


at his need, and made a firm resolution never to see him, nor hear 
from him, nor so much as even think of him again, and prayed 
that strength might be given her to keep it till the end. 

John Yandeleur, a little disappointed, walked oil" to feed with 
two hundred of his fellow-creatures at the crowded table d'hote 
of the Kursaal. A knot of French women, vivacious in language 
and agreeable in manners, looked after him with approving glances 
as he passed, considering him, no doubt, a creditable specimen of 
the middle-aged, manly, well-dressed English gentleman; and 
one even observed, loud enough for him to overhear — " Tiens ! 
Coralie, il est bien, ce vieillard. Pour un Anglais bien entendu ! " 
To which Coralie, whose teeth would bear inspection, only replied 
by a sarcastic grin. 

Something seemed to be gnawing at his heart though, while 
he threaded the crowds of well-dressed, handsome women who 
were thronging towards the table d'hote ; something that would 
keep reminding him how the path he had elected to follow was 
slipping from beneath his feet ; how the life he had chosen was 
passing away, to leave nothing but a vague impotent regret in 
its place. Once, not so long ago, he would have enjoyed such a 
scene, as the butterfly enjoys the summer-garden where it may 
disport itself at will. Now he could not even wish that time 
would come again. Like the mortal in fairy-land whose eyes had 
been touched with a magic liquid that rendered powerless the 
elfin glamour, he seemed to see gaunt skeletons and grinning 
skulls beneath winning smiles and graceful, undulating dresses. 
He had come up with the mirage at last, and discovered that 
those golden lakes and gardens of Paradise wore but barren sand 
and scorching glare. Was there only one fountain to quench his 
insufferable thirst, and must that be sealed to him for evermore ? 
His brain swam, and he turned sick and cold, but the man had 
lots of pluck, and soon rallied— swaggering into the long lofty 
mile with his accustomed air of easy good-humoured superi- 
ority, though he said to himself he was "about done" all the 

" I've been through everything else," thought Vandeleur, 
" but I've never taken to drinking. I used to think fellows 
fools who did. Well, I'm learning some queer lessons now. 
Perhaps it's the only thing left after all ! " 

Nevertheless, he was so loyal to his young wife, shut up 
weeping in her room, that he went and sat by old Lady Baker, 
who usually found a vacant place at her elbow — something in 
her brown wig and general demeanour deterring strangers from 

\6i The White Rose. 

a near approach, until compelled to face tiiat ordeal by the 
pangs of hunger and the exigencies of a crowded table. 

"Where's Norah? Why didn't you bring her?" asked this 
tiresome old woman in the loud voice deaf people, as being 
mindful of the golden rule, seem invariably to use. 

" Got a headache," answered Vandeleur in the same key, 
arranging his napkin, and commencing on a plate of thick ver- 
micelli soup. 

" Head-ache ! Nonsense ! " answered Lady Baker, and by 
this time their stentorian colloquy had raised some score of heads 
on each side of the table from the congenial employment ot 
eating, while Vandeleur wished he was sitting anywhere else. 
" That's only the waters. I tell you the Louisen-Brunnen 
would give my poodle a headache if it was to do him any good. 
Why didn't you make her come ? What's the use of your 
marrying a young wife if you don't take her about and amuse 
her ? She looks moped to death. What's that ? Beef? Merci, 
no thank ye. Mr. Vandeleur, will you hand the Wein-karte ?" 

Vandeleur had ordered a bottle ox champagne. While Lady 
Baker wavered between the merits of Beaune and Medoc, he 
had time to fortify himself with a glass or two of that exhila- 
rating compound, but his communicative neighbour was soon at 
him again. 

"Tell Norah I've such a piece of news for her," she shouted 
in his ear : " I've seen her old love on the terrace. It's as true 
as I sit here. And he is playing, I can tell you, as if his pockets 
were lined with gold. You remember young Ainslie, the lad 
who was at Mr. Archer's, not above two miles from Oakover ? " 

Remember young Ainslie ! He rather thought ha did ; and 
the recollection scarce improved the flavour of that last gulp ot 
champagne ere he filled again so rapidly. But John Vandeleur 
was a match for a good many Lady Bakers still, and he laughed 
carelessly while he replied — 

" Playing is he ? That won't last long. I'm sorry for it. I 
used to think him a nice boy, and he was a great favourite of 
Norah'sj but I'm afraid he's gone regularly to the bad." 

"Yea may well say so," proclaimed Lady Baker ; "I can tell 
you more than that; I can tell you what's become of that 
odious woman he married. I can tell you who she's gone off 
with. Ah ! it's a sad business. A' n't you dying to know.: " 

Here an English mamma, with two gaunt daughters not out 
of ear-shot, half rose from her seat, as about to take refuge in 
flight} but observing tho approach of tempting souffle, and un- 

Disagreeable. 1 63 

willing, perhaps, to lose the germ of a flagrant scandal, con- 
tented herself with frowning in a rebuking manner at her 
offspring, and remaining very upright in her place. 

Lady Baker continued : — 

" I never thought much of that Count Tourbillon, you know. 
I told you myself you shouldn't introduce him to your wife, and 
I'm thankful now I did. Well, I sent my maid out, before I 
went to dress, for half a yard of sarsnet. Will you believe, 
Mr. Vandeleur, that there wasn't such a thing to be got as half 
a yard of sarsnet, without writing to Frankfort for it ! And 
what do you think she saw?" 

"The Frankfort omnibus empty," answered Vandeleur, re- 
filling his glass, " and the English clergyman's children in a 
donkey-chair! that's about the usual excitement here." 

"Nonsense," replied her ladyship 5 "you can see that any 
day. No ; what my maid saw was a fiacre, loaded with luggage, 
and driven towards the railw r ay-station, with a foreign servant 
on the box, and inside Count Tourbillon, accompanied by" — 
here the English mamma stretched her long neck to listen, while 
her demure daughters coloured with suppressed delight — " by 
Mrs. Ainslie ! There, Mr. Vandeleur ! Have I opened your 
eyes, or have I not ?" 

If she had, Vandeleur was most unlikely to admit it. Calling 
for a glass of Madeira, he answered calmly — 

" What a good riddance for Ainslie ! Now the weight is 
taken off, it is just possible he may get a fresh start, and make a 
race of it after all." 

" That's so like a man !" answered her ladyship with a grim 
smile, and a playful shake of her brown wig 5 " you never think 
of us. Have you no pity for the poor woman who has fallen 
into the hands of your friend ? Yes, your friend, that good-for- 
nothing Count Tourbillon ?" 

Vandeleur's laugh was harsh and grating. "Pity!" eplied 
he ; " who that knows anything about them ever pitied a woman! 
Like the tiger-cat, they can take rare of themselves. Tourbillon 
understands them thoroughly. He wages war with the whole 
sex — war to the knife ! — and he's quite right. Ell tell you 
what, Lady Baker; Ell pity you if ever you fall into his 
clutches, but nobody else. Gareon ! Encore un verre de 

He spoke in a loud, almost a brutal tone, quite unlike his usual 
voice, and even Lady Baker's dull senses perceived the difference. 
She looked a little surprised, while the English mamma, with a 

164 The White tlo$e. 

sign to her daughters, walked grandly and reproachfully away, 
lb be sure, dinner was over and there was nothing to stay for 
now : nor could she expect to hear so good a piece of scandal 
during the nest twenty-four hours. Was it not her duty., there- 
fore., to impart it without delay, to certain female friends of her 
own nation., with whom she was engaged to a British cup of 
tea. while the rest of the company went to drink coffee outside. 
where they could sit in the glow of the warm evening and. 
enjoy the strains of such a band as is never heard out of doors 
but in Germany? 

Vandeleur lit a cigar, and took his place to listen, but the 
sweet, sad, wailing melodv of the waltz thev were plaving 
irritated him strangely, and seemed to call up all kinds of 
morbid uncomfortable feelings in his mind. He had become 
very restless of late, and seldom remained long in any one spot. 
He thought he would walk about a little, while he finished his 
cigar, unwillirg to inflict its fames on Xorah and her headache, 
yet anxious to return home without delay 

So he wandered amongst the poplar alleys to kill time, and 
presently found himself in front of the stall at which his wife 
had made so bad a bargain that same afternoon. 

He remembered she had praised some beads seen in a shop- 
window as they passed through Frankfoit, but which they had no 
time to stop and purchase. Perhaps he might hnd something ol 
the same kind here. Puffing his cigar, he glanced his eye lazily 
over the counter in search of what he required. 

Suddenly the colour rose to his brow, and he turned on the 
German Jew who presided over the emporium, with an energy 
that made the little man shrink in his shoes. 

'•'"Where did yen get this ?" he asked, pointing to the bracelet 
he had himself placed on Xorah's arm some three months before. 

The dealer hesitated, stammered, and could not remember of 
course. He had so many customers, so much business, he never 
refused to bargain. The high and well-born gentleman was 
obviously a man of taste. If he liked the bracelet he could 
have it cheap, very cheap. It was worth three thousand florins, 
but he desired the gentleman's custom. He would take what 
it had cost him, and the gentleman should have it for twenty-five 
hundred, if he would buy something else. There was a pearl 
necklace in the back-shop, and a set of turquoise buttons made 
for the Grand Duchess herself. 

Vandeleur threw away his cigar and took the bracelet out 
of the other's hand for a nearer inspection. During the space 

Disagreeable. 165 

of a moment he turned very pale. It was scarce possible, he 
thought, that two trinkets could have been made so exactly alike ; 
but he soon determined to set his doubts at rest. 

"Twenty-rive hundred florins!" said he. "You might as 
well ask twenty-five millions! I will give you two thousand. 
That was what the bracelet cost in London, and you will mske at 
least fifty per cent, profit, as you know." 

" Not a gulden, not a kreutzer, not a poor half-grosche/i ! " 
protested the Jew. On the contrary, he would be out of pocket 
by the transaction. Such dealings would ruin him, would shut 
up his shop, would cause him to become a bankrupt. Neverthe- 
less, to oblige this English nobleman he would even risk such a 
catastrophe. But the English nobleman would not forget him, 
and would deal with him while he remained at Homburg for 
jewellery, amber, shawls, beads, crystals, porcelain, embroidery, 
and tobacco. Nay, he could even be of use for cashing bills on 
well-known houses in London or Paris. Nay, and here he 
looked exceedingly amiable, if his excellency required any tem- 
porary advance at a low rate of interest, he would feel proud 
to be of service. This in many different languages, with bows, 
and shrugs, and apologetic wavings of the hands. 

Vandeleur cut them all short with some impatience. Pro- 
ducing his cheque-book, he bought the bracelet at once, and, 
without permitting it even to be packed, insisted on carrying it 
away in his hand, glancing on it from time to time with a wild 
disturbed gaze, while he hurried home. 

Mrs. Vandeleur's headache was better. She had drunk a cup 
of coffee, and come down to the drawing-room. Pocketing his 
purchase, her husband joined her there with a clouded brow. 

"Norah," said he, "I got you a bracelet at London and 
Ryder's, some weeks ago. I saw ^you wearing it yesterday. 
Just send your maid for it, please. I met her on the stairs." 

Mrs. Vandeleur turned white. " What do you want it 
for ? " she asked, with a vague idea of gaining time. 

He never looked at her, — he seldom did; but though she 
could not catch his eye, she dreaded the expression of his coun- 
tenance, while he answered, very slowly — 

" I have a particular reason for wishing to look at the stones. 
I think I have seen one to match it exactly. Will you ring at 

Her courage seldom tailed her long. It was coming back 
rapidly. She raised her proud little head and looked full iu his 

1 66 The White Rose. 

"Noj I will not!" replied Norah, "My maid could not 
bring it me, because she hasn't got it." 

" You had it on this morning at breakfast/' said he, still in 
the same low, concentrated voice. 

"I — I've lost it," she replied. "No! I won't tell you a 
story about it, Mr. Vandeleur. I — I sold it three hours ago to 
a German Jew, for a hundred pounds." 

"You sold it to a German Jew for a hundred pounds '. * ne 
repeated. " I know you did. I bought it back for two. Cent, 
per cent, is the least of the loss when ladies do such things with- 
out consulting their husbands. Mrs. Vandeleur, may I ask what 
use you have made of the hundred pounds thus obtained in so 
creditable a manner to you and me > You may tell me or not. 
But depend upon it I shall find this out as I did the other." 

She had caught his eye now, and he could not look away from 
her, though he tried. Shifting his position uneasily, he seemed 
to abandon the superiority he had assumed. She felt her advan- 
tage, and it gave her confidence to speak the truth with a 
haughty front. 

"You may find out what you please," said she. "There is 
nothing to conceal. I sent the money to Mr. Ainslie, who is 
ruined, and in the utmost want. I believe he is actually starv- 
ing. You won't frighten me, Mr. Vandeleur. I should do the 
same thing again." 

She spoke boldly, but she was frightened none the less j and 
something told her, though she could not explain why, that the 
only way in which she controlled him was by keeping her eye 
fixed on his. It seemed to be with sheer passion that his 
features worked so painfully, and she sprang to her feet as be 
drew near, believing for a moment that he would have struck 
her with his clenched hand. 

The sudden movement broke the charm with which she had 
fixed him, and he burst forth in a torrent of reproaches, insult, 
and vehement abuse. He did not indeed threaten her with the 
personal violence she had feared, for even in these moments of 
uncontrollable anger, Vandeleur retained some of the gentle- 
manlike instincts which had become second nature, but he 
spoke to her in language such as she had never heard before,—' 
such as, to do him justice, he had never spoken to a woman in his 
life. Pale, tearful, trembling, but still undaunted, Norah retired 
as soon as practicable to her own room, where she was suffered 
to remain undisturbed j but long after she had locked herself ia. 
and composed herself, as she hoped, for rest, even till far into 

Despotic. 167 

the night, she lay quaking and miserable, listening to her 
husband's voice rating the unfortunate servants, and giving many 
directions as to packing luggage, railway-trains, fiacres, and other 
premonitory symptoms of an early start. 

Norah could only gather that they were to take their departure 
the following morning from Homburg, and it was with aweary, 
aching heart she told herself it mattered little to her how far, 
or in what direction, they were to go. 



Since we met them at a certain wedding-breakfast to celebrate 
the success of Mr. Vandeleur's wooing, we have lost sight of 
two characters indispensable to the progress of our story. It is 
Dot to be supposed that Dolly Egremont and Dandy Burton, 
having quitted the shelter of their tutor's roof, retired therefore 
into the privacy of domestic life. On the contrary, each of 
these gentlemen considered himself now launched forth ui ou 
the great world, and was perfectly convinced of his own ability 
to tread a stage whereon success appears so easy to people, till 
they try. Burton, indeed, passed a sufficiently creditable ex- 
amination, thanks to the care with which Mr. Archer had 
crammed him, and his own faculty of retaining special informa- 
tion in his head for a limited period. He was, therefore, liow 
chiefly anxious about his speedy appointment to Her Majesty's 
Household Cavalry, and pending the welcome, 
iooked for in each succeeding Gazette, threw his whole mind 
into the congenial subjects of boots, leathers, helmets, cuirasses, 
and such warlike panoply, not to mention chargers, grand in 
action, faultless in shape, black in colour, or of a dark brown as 
far removed from black as the Colonel's critical eye would 
permit. Such interests as these left but little room in the 
Dandy's brains for anything of lighter importance; nevertheless 
»t did occur to him that, although his manners were incapable of 
improvement, hi.-: curiosity might be agreeably stimulated by a 
light course of continental travel. And, finding the French he 
nad been taught at Eton and elsewhere of little use in Paris, 
where the natives speak their own language in a mode astounu- 
ing to English faculties, he wandered aimlessly on as his foie;g'± 
servant advised, and after drinking Epernay at Chalons-sur* 


168 The White itwe. 

Marne, and hearing the clock strike in Strasburg Cath&Lai, 
found himself at Heidelberg, very much bored, and half per- 
suaded that he had now done sight-seeing enough, and might go 
home with a clear conscience, via Brussels, Antwerp, and Ostend. 
To be in a foreign country ignorant of the language (for Burton 
knew about as much German as most young English gentlemen 
who have had the advantage of a liberal education, and could ask 
for a " weiss-caffee " or a " Kalbs-cotelette," but little else), 
to feel dependent for society on your own thoughts, and for 
information on a servant with ear-rings and a velvet cap, in 
whose intelligence you have more confidence than in his 
honesty, is a situation that soon becomes irksome, not to say 

Dandy Burton came down to breakfast the morning after his 
arrival at Heidelberg with a fixed determination to do the 
Castle, the Great Tun, and other curiosities of that picturesque 
old town, in the forenoon, and start for England after an early 
dinner and a bottle of the only drinkable Rhine wine he had yet 
been able to find out. Having finished his coffee, he was light- 
ing the indispensable cigar, when a heavy hand clapped him on 
the shoulder, and a cheery voice, recalling the pupil-room at 
Archer's, accosted him in accents of extreme delight, — 

" What, Dandy ! Our Dandy ! In the Fatherland, in the 
heart of the Black Forest ! In the very Paradise of singing, and 
smoke, and sentiment, and scenery ! Pst ! Waiter ! Kellner ! 
Beer. Bairische Bier, Ich bitte — Geschwind ! — Look sharp ! 
On the banks of the Neckar, you must keep up your pecker. 
What a jolly go ! Old man, I'm very glad to see you.'' 

Dolly's jovial round face denoted, indeed, the cordiality he 
felt. Stout, ruddy, sunburnt, with long hair and budding 
moustaches, dressed, moreover, in an indescribable costume, com- 
bining the peculiarities of every country through which he had 
passed, and surmounted by a Tyrolese hat, he might have been 
taken for a Dutch pedlar, a Belgian bagman, an Alsatian band- 
master, a horse-dealer from the Banat, a German student, or 
anything in the world but a young Englishman of position, 
the habitual associate of so unimpeachable a swell as Dandy 

The latter, however, returned his greeting well pleased. 

"When did you come?" he asked, "and how long do you 
stay ? I say, we'll do this beastly place together. I thought of 
going back to-night. I don't mind if I give it another day ikjw, 
What have you been about since we met at Oakover ? " 

Despotic. 169 

Dolly buried his broad face in the mug of beer placed before 
him, and set it down half emptied, with a deep sigh, ere 1:2 

" Plucked like a goose, my young friend ! Ploughed like an 
acre of turnips ! Spun like a humming-top or a tee-to-tum ! 
The foe may thunder at the gates now, Dandy. My bleeding 
country must look to me in vain. Like Caius of Corioli, my 
vengeance and my wrongs may furnish food for ribald mirth, 
and after-dinner songs. But when the trumpet note of defiance 
is heard without the walls, you must answer it on your own 
hook, my boy ; you'll have no help from me. And all because I 
spelt baggage-waggon with too many g's, and couldn't tell my 
examiner the population, constitution, or hereditary policy of 

" Then you re not going to be a soldier after all ! " observed 
Burton in a tone of much commiseration. 

"No, I'm not," replied Dolly. "And, to tell you the truth, 
I'm very glad of it. I saw a two-hundred pound shot the other 
day, and an eighteen-inch iron plating that ought to have 
resisted it, but didn't! I'm a pretty fair 'long-stop,' as you 
know, but I think I'd rather not field them, when they come in 
so sharp as that. I'll tell you what I'll do though, Dandy, for love 
of the profession ; come and admire you the first day you re on a 
guard of honour, when there's a levee at St. James's. Have some 
beer, old chap, and then walk up to the castle with me." 

So the two friends strolled through the town without meeting 
a single student, much to their disappointment ; for even the 
Dandy, whose powers of admiration were limited, had conceived 
an interest in that picturesque assemblage of unwise young men. 
He had heard — who has not ? — of their associations, their dis- 
cussions, their duels, their drinking-bouts, their affectations of 
dress and deportment, their loyalty to one another, and to the 
brotherhood of which each was so proud to form a part. He 
would have liked to become better acquainted with a society, 
than which nothing can be conceived more different from the 
undergraduates at Oxford and Cambridge, or the subalterns in 
our own regiments of cavalry. 

As for Dolly, he was wild about them. So he was about 
the town, and the castle, and the Black Forest, and the silver 
Neckar winding through its half-dried bed, in which huge 
boulders of rock denoted the force of the river when coming 
down with a winter's flood ; also about the Wolfen-briinnen, 
tamous for its improbable legend, which he related to his com- 

Ijo The While Rose. 

panion at great length, with many interpolations and additions 
of his own. Altogether the Dandy felt he had passed a fatiguing 
day, when they returned to the old castle, and, leaning against 
its battlements, took their fill once more of a panorama of 
beauty, such as no man who has once seen it can ever forget, 
such as could rouse even so imperturbable a young gentleman 
as Burton into exclamations of satisfaction and approval. 

" It's very well done indeed!" observed that critic, flinging 
the end of his cigar down some hundred fathoms of sheer 
descent, " and if anything could repay such a broil, and such a 
climb, it would be a view like this ! If it wasn't for his boots a 
fellow might almost fancy he was a bird up he-re. Mightn't he, 
Dolly ? I don't envy those two though, down below, having it 
all before them. The woman is tired already. Look how she 
lags behind ! " 

But Dolly did not answer. With all his buffoonery, nay, 
perhaps in consequence of the ccmic element in his character, 
he had keen sensibilities for the grand, the beautiful, or the 
pathetic. There were tears in his eyes now, dimming the 
golden sparkle of the sunshine on the river, blurring the outline 
of that far horizon where endless ranges of the Black Forest 
joined the bright summer sky. 

He gulped them down though, heartily ashamed, and looked 
in the same direction as his companion. 

"Better and better!" he exclaimed, his face brightening. 
" Why, it's Mr. and Mrs. Vandeleur ! Le^'s go down and meet 

They descended without delay. Half-way down the hill they 
met husband and wife, no longer arm-in-arm, or side-by-side, as 
people walk whose ideas are in common, or whose hearts answer 
each other, but several yards apart. Vandeleur looking on the 
ground, moody, sullen, abstracted, mattering at intervals to him- 
self. Norah, paler even than common, marching far behind 
him with the stately step and downcast air, yet unsubdued, of a 
captive in a procession. Every now and then he would stop for 
her, speak a few common-place words in a cold constrained 
tone more suggestive of displeasure than the loudest reproof, and 
move on again without waiting for an answer, as if forgetful of 
her presence. For the first time since her marriage, Norah was 
to learn the nature of the yoke under which she had put her 
neck, the fetters into which she had thrust her feet. 

Truth to tell, Mrs. Vandeleur was a good deal frightened. 
Though of a courageous temperament, last night's outbreak had 

Despotic. 171 

made no slight impression on her nerves. Since then she had 
watched her h asband's demeanour, as the landsman watches an 
appioaching storm at sea, ignorant alike of how it is to be met, 
how terrific may be its fury, and how soon it may break. She 
bad no experience in such matters. No male voice had ever 
spoken to her before but in accents of kindliness, courtesy, even 
deference. How was she to encounter bitter taunts, savage 
threats, unfounded reproaches from the man she had sworn to 
love, honour, and obey ! 

He had not been tn bed the previous night, but had entered 
her room at daybreak, and desired her to make ready at once for 
departure. Worn and sleepless, she had obeyed without a ques- 
tion. At intervals he broke out against her with confused, half- 
spoken accusations, to which she thought it better not to reply, 
although her very silence furnished him with a fresh grievance. 
He seemed continually on the point of saying something which 
would not out, of taking some desperate step from which he 
felt himself restrained without knowing why, and poor Norah 
quaked to think that at any moment this invisible thread might 
break, this imaginary safeguard be destroyed. 

Under such uncomfortable conditions they entered the carriage 
which brought them to the railway, and it was only by accident 
Norah gathered that Heidelberg was to be her destination for 
the night. Once she ventured to inquire if he was going to take 
her to England, and Vandeleur, the same Vandeleur whom 
hitherto she had looked upon, with all his faults, as the perfec- 
tion of a courteous gentleman, replied — 

" You will go wherever I choose — so long as you call yourself 
my wife ! If you think I can't keep you clear of that blackguard 
Ainslie in England as well as in Germany, you will find yourself 
most infernally mistaken. Hold your tongue ! " 

After this she thought it better to ask no more questions ; but 
what an interminable journey it seemed ! Arrived at Heidelberg, 
they sat down to a second breakfast, or an early luncheon, — it 
was all the same to Norah, for she could scarcely force a morsel 
down her throat ; and entering a carriage according to Vande- 
leur' s desire, expressed in few words and those none of the 
kindest, this ill-matched pair proceeded to view the town ere 
they alighted for a walk up the hill towards the castle, silent as 
I have said, preoccupied, and twenty yards apan I question if 
either of them had eyes for the glowing landscape, the wide 
immensity of water, wood, and wold they had ostensibly travelled 
so many leagues to see. 

17« The White Rose. 

Unlike those which precede matrimony, such conjugal iSte-d* 
teles are exceedingly tedious to the performers. The commonest 
acquaintance who breaks in on them is welcomed as a deliverer 
and a friend. A few weeks ago, perhaps, the same individual 
would have been received with black looks, short answers, and a 
manifest disinclination to detain him from any other business he 
might have on hand. Vandeleur's countenance cleared and his 
whole manner changed when the two young men met him half- 
way down the hill. Norah, too, came to the front, and, with 
the noble instinct of woman that bids her draw the folds of her 
mantle to conceal her wounds, entered into the usual light 
laughing conversation with which people think it decent to veil 
all emotion, whether of joy or sorrow, from their companions. 

So the young men turned back, and the whole party went 
together up the hill, and together visited the curiosities of the 
castle, ridiculing, even while they felt it most deeply, all the 
romance, all the interest of the grand old keep. As extremes 
meet, so the highest-cultured conceal their emotion not less 
sternly than the immovable savage ; and there are few phases of 
contradictory human nature more amusing than the cold sar- 
castic mirth with which an exquisite sensibility thinks it neces- 
sary to hide its most creditable feelings. Look along the stalls 
of any of our theatres while a pathetic scene is being enacted, 
and watch how stealthily people blow their noses in its most 
touching parts. Perhaps some bearded warrior, who has fronted 
death scores of times, and fancies himself above all moral or 
physical weaknesses, will rather tell a deliberate falsehood than 
acknowledge a generous sympathy, and excuses his watery eyes 
by pleading a cold in the head ! 

Vandeleur was popular with young men. His air of good- 
humoured recklessness won on their fancy, and his reputation of 
having "done everything" was not without its charm for those 
who fondly thought they had got it all to do. He chatted with 
them in his old pleasant manner, and even altered his demeanour 
towards his wife. Norah looked at him in mute surprise. This, 
too, was a new phase in the character which she thought she 
had learned after a few months. Gradually her own spirits 
returned, for youth is very elastic and easily stimulated by such 
restoratives as scenery and sunshine. She, too, began to laugh 
and talk, showing frankly enough that she was pleased to meet 
her old friends in this remote foreign town. 

When Vandeleur asked them both to dinner at his hotel in 
little more than an hour's time, she endorsed her husband'i 

Dangerous. 173 

invitation so cordially that he ground his teeth in a pang of un- 
founded jealousy, and the Dandy, who was apt to be sanguine 
on such matters, felt persuaded that he had at last made a 
favourable impression on Mrs. Vandelear. 

" She's tired of him already, Dolly," said he, while they 
climbed the lofty staircase that led to their bedrooms; "and 
I'm not surprised. What right had such an old buffer to 
marry the prettiest girl in the whole county ? You may take 
your oath now she wishes she had waited for somebody else ! " 

"Meaning you, I suppose," replied Dolly. "No, no, my 
boy. Don't you believe it. There never was a nicer girl out 
than Miss Welby — there isn't a better woman on earth than 
Mrs. Vandeleur. She deserves to be happy, and I hope and 
trust she is." 

Nevertheless, discreet Dolly, entertaining a sincere friendship 
for the lady of whom he spoke so highly, was not half as well 
satisfied of her welfare as he pretended to be. He whistled 
softly to himself the whole time he was dressing, and shook his 
head at intervals with a whimsical air of apprehension and con- 
cern. Nay, while he put the finishing touch to his toilet by tying 
round his neck the narrow piece of tape that did duty for a white 
cravat, he broke out aloud into one of the misquotations in 
which he habitually indulged. 

" She's been bewitched," said Dolly. " Poor girl ! Regu- 
larly bewitched, and though she has discovered it so soon, it's 
too late. 

" Out flew the web, and floated wide, 
The mirror cracked from side to side, 
• The curse is come upon me ! ' cried 

The Lady of Shalott ; 
' I promised him I'd be his bride, 

And now I'd rather not ! ' " 



It is only his due to observe that John Vandeleur was one of 
those gentlemen who, if they intended going up in a balloon, 
would take care to have it warmed, aired, and made thoroughly 

He was, indeed, well used to travelling on the Continent, 
and knew better than most people with how little extra fore- 

I ?4 The While Rose. 

thought and trouble it is possible for those who have plenty of 
money to carry with them all the luxuries of home. He em- 
ployed a foreign servant, too, — a perfect treasure, who suffered 
nobody to rob his master but himself. A servant to whom he 
need only say, "We start to-morrow at five for Constantinople,' 
and everything would be ready at daybreak, including, perhaps, 
a Sultan's firman waiting at the first post he should reach on 
the Turkish frontier. To whom, as on the present occasion, 
he had but to observe, " Auguste, dinner in half-an-hour ! Covers 
*br four ! " and Anguste would reply, " Milor" (be persisted in 
calling his master " Milor") " shall be served to the minute ! " 
taking care at the same time, even in a greasy German hotel, 
that the dinner should be as well put on the table, if not as well 
cooked, the wine as carefully iced, as at Oakover, or the Claren- 
don, or the Cafe de Paris itself. When the two guests were 
ushered by this invaluable domestic into the sitting-room occu- 
pied by their host and hostess, these were ready to receive them : 
Vandeleur, gentlemanlike and hospitable, as if in his own house ; 
Norah, pale and beautiful, in a high transparent dress that set 
off the symmetry of her neck and shoulders to perfection, her 
only ornaments a heavy gold bracelet at her wrist, a heavy gold 
locket on a black velvet round her neck, and a white rose in her 
dark chestnut hair. 

The husband was laughing gaily; the wife looked tranquil 
and composed. How could the arrivals guess that there had 
been another scene not ten minutes ago ? — that the smiling 
gentleman extending his hand so cordially to the two young men 
dad been swearing brutally at the delicate lady to whom they 
made their bow, accusing her of flirting with the one and valu- 
ing the society of the other, as being a dear friend to her lover — 
hers, a married woman ! — but a lover whom he would take 

d d good care she should never see again ! All this, with 

strange mutterings, furious gestures, and averted eyes that never 
looked a moment in her face. 

Well, he was pleasant enough now. It was, " Mr. Burton, 
will you take in my wife ? Let me see, which of you two 
fellows is the eldest ? Never mind. Dolly, you will come with 
me. I can't give you a decent dinner, but the wine is not bad, 
and after our broiling walk to-day we shall appreciate it. I 
thought Norah would have fainted, she looked so knocked up 
<vhen she came in." 

Mrs. Vandeleur smiled -ather contemptuously, and the party 
rat down, waited on by Auguste and a benevolent German 

Dangerous. i 75 

■ervant, who appeared to resist with difficulty his desire to join 
in the conversation. 

They talked about England of course. English people always 
do talk as if they were within ten miles of Charing Cross. 
Burton endeavoured to interest Mrs. Vandeleur in his own 
anticipations of the London season, and she tried to listen as if 
her thoughts were not far away. Dolly reverted to old times, 
to the Rectory, to Ripley Water, to the pupil-room at Archer's, 
and her eye brightened, while the colour came faintly to her 
cheek. " He liked that country," he said, " he liked that neigh- 
bourhood, he admired the scenery, he enjoyed the climate, he 
thought Oakover the nicest place he had ever seen." 

" I wish you could persuade Mrs. Vandeleur of all that," said 
the host, who seemed, contrary to his usual habit, inclined to 
grow quarrelsome and argumentative. " R's a devilish odd 
thing — though when you're as old as I am you'll both have seen 
a thousand instances of it — that no woman ever likes to live at her 
husband's place. It's either too high or too low, or the trees are 
too near the house, or there's standing water within half a mile 
that makes it unhealthy. There never are any neighbours. It's 
dull in the summer and cold in the winter. Or, suppose all 
these objections are got over, it's sure to be too damp for her 
constitution in the spring." 

" I like Oakover very much," observed Mrs. Vandeleur, 
quietly; "and as for the climate not agreeing with me, I was 
brought up within two miles of it, as you know." 

" Oh, you're a pattern wife, of course," was his answer, with 
so unpleasant a smile that it could not escape the observation of 
his guests. " It's lucky you do like the place though, for we go 
straight back there to-morrow, I can tell you." 

The young men looked at each other in consternation. Van- 
deleur's manner was so different from his usual easy good- 
humoured courtesy, that they were puzzled. He was drinking 
a great deal of wine too, and seemed strangely impatient when 
Auguste neglected to fill his glass." Even after dinner was over 
he continued at table, and appeared in no hurry to order coffee. 
Norah, unwilling to remain, and afraid to go away, sat in utter 
discomfort, trying to fix her attention on the platitudes of 
Dandy Burton, who bestowed them liberally, satisfied he was 
kindling a lively interest in the breast of his handsome hostess. 
The latter looked all the while to good-natured Dolly Egremont 
as her mainstay, feeling a certain protection in his presence 
while he remained, for something told her he would prove a 

176 The White Rose. 

true and loyal friend, but dreading to be left alone with her 
husband when it should be time for their guests to go away. 
Fear, however, in the female breast is seldom unaccompanied by 
the nobler emotion of anger. If her physique be equal to it, a 
high-spirited woman, like a high-couraged horse, is never so 
daring as when her nerves are excited by well-founded appre- 
hension. Norah was conscious of terror, but her soul rose in 
rebellion against the unworthy and uncomfortable feeling, and 
she felt, to carry on the equine metaphor, that one more jerk of 
the bridle, one more dig from the brutal spur, would get her head 
up, and rouse her to face anything in the world. 

The silence grew irksome ; Dandy Burton, wishing to break 
it, stumbled on the happy topic of Gerard Ainslie. With 
characteristic felicity he asked point-blank whether his host had 
heard or seen anything of his fellow-pupil since he left Mr. 
Archer's ? 

Vandeleur grinned maliciously at his wife. 

" I'm sorry you've inquired," said he. " I ought to tell you 
all about him. I ought to warn you against him. We left him 
at Homburg literally begging his bread." Dolly half rose from 
his chair, as if to be off that moment by the train for Frank- 
fort, and I think Mrs. Vandeleur liked him none the worse for 
this sudden movement, which she probably understood. " You 
need not pity him ; neither of you. He has done everything 
that is bad. He has turned out a thorough blackguard. No 
lady ought even to mention his name. He can never look a 
gentleman in the face again." 

Dolly had got as far as "It's impossible ! " when he was 
silenced by Mrs. Vandeleur. 

"You dare not say it to his face! " exclaimed Norah, flush- 
ing crimson and turning very pale again in a moment 3 " and it is 
cowardly to say it behind his back. Yes, cowardly, Mr. Vande- 
leur, and unworthy of a man ! Mr. Ainslie has been unfortu- 
nate, more unfortunate than I can describe ; but I tell you, and 
I tell these old friends of his, that I will not believe a word 
you say against him ; that whatever may have been his follies, 
he has never been guilty of a low or a mean action, and I will 
pledge all I have in the world that his sense of honour is as high 
and as untarnished as my own." 

With a bow to be divided between her guests, and a stare of 
haughty defiance for her husband's exclusive benefit, with head 
up, measured gait, proud gestures, and sweeping draperies, Mrs. 
Vandeleur marched out of the room and disappeared. 

Dangerous. 177 

Burton and Egremont looked in each other's faces aghast. 
Vandeleur became almost purple, but recovered himself cre- 
ditably enough, and burst out into a forced laugh. 

"Bachelors both!" said he, pushing a bottle of claret across 
the table, "if you're wise, you'll remain so. Ladies have their 
tantrums, as you'll probably find out some day. Mrs. Vandeleur 
isn't at all well just at present. There's no end of steel in those 
waters at Homburg, and this air is much too bracing ; that is 
why I am taking her to England. Have some more claret, and 
then we'll smoke a quiet weed before we part." 

In common decency the guests were obliged to remain a little 
longer, but the claret seemed flavourless, the conversation flagged, 
and, after a cup of coffee, they were only too happy to take their 

As they threaded the long corridor of the hotel, Dolly whis- 
pered to his friend — 

"We've spent a deuced unpleasant evening, to my mind, and 
I'm sorry for it. You can't call that a ' dinner of herbs,' my 
boy. Well, matrimony's a noble institution, no doubt ; but 
what we've seen to-day is discouraging, and I don't feel the 
better for it." 

" What can you expect ?" answered the other. " He's much 
too old for her, and she hates him. How handsome she looked 
when she walked out ! Let us go and smoke in the court, 
Dolly. It is cool there, and a beautiful starlight night." 

So the two went down into the courtyard, surrounded on three 
sides by the hotel, and on the fourth by the stables. It wanted 
still some hours of midnight, and even the honest early German 
folks had not yet retired to rest. Lights were gleaming from 
many of the windows, standing open to let in the fresh night-air. 
Dolly and Burton, smoking their cigars, wondered lazily which 
were those of Mrs. Vandeleur, and pursued the thread of their 

" I thought his eyes were very queer," observed Burton, after 
expressing an unflattering opinion that Mr. Vandeleur had aged 
very much in the last few months. "And his voice seemed 
changed. He mopped up his champagne, though, pretty freely. 
Do you suppose now, he could have been drunk ?" 

"Drunk? Not he!" answered Dolly. " There's no stronger- 
headed fellow out than Vandeleur,nor a less excitable one. Depend 
upon it, he knows what he's about. Hark ! what's that ?" 

What, indeed ! A confused wrangle of voices, raised to an 
angry pitch — an altercation — a quarrel. Dolly's sharp ears caught 

i;8 The White Rose. 

Mrs. Vandeleur's tones, eager, excited, in accents; of scorn, ex- 
postulation, then entreaty — lastly, terror ! 

The two listeners sprang across the court, and stood for a 
moment spell-bound, beneath the windows of a brightly-lighted 
apartment on the second floor. The rooms below were very 
lofty, and it was not easy to hear what went on within an upper 
chamber so high above the ground. 

Shadows passing rapidly to and fro traversed the wall opposite 
the broad open casement. 

Hoarse, as with mad fury long suppressed, a whisper hissed 
down into the court — 

" By h— 11, I will ! I'll strangle you !" 

Then a long, wild, ringing shriek, and dashing into the house 
for a rescue, Dolly, closely followed by his friend, came in col- 
lision, at the door, with Mrs. Vandeleur in her night-dress, her 
hair down, her feet bare, her whole appearance denoting ex- 
tremity of terror and dismay. 

"Save me! save me!" screamed Norah, clinging to Dolly 
like a terrified child. " He'll kill me ! — he's raving mad ! 
Help him, somebody!" she added, beginning to sob as her 
courteous nature re-asserted itself. "Help him! — perhaps 
he'll kill himself!" 

Even while she spoke they heard a rushing sound, followed 
by a dull dead bump on the paved surface of the court. Norah s 
strength failed her now. Already the hotel was alarmed. Lights 
were glancing, and servants running about in all directions. 
They covered Mrs. Vandeleur with a cloak, and carried her off 
unresisting, for she had fainted away. 

" It's all over ! " said Burton, as the hand he lifted fell life- 
less and inert across Vandeleur's bruised and mangled body, 
lying in a pool of blood. "Stark naked, too!" he added, 
looking down at the ghastly mass. " And to jump from such a 
height ! He must have been as mad as Bedlam ! " 

He must indeed ! That poor terrified woman, now happily 
insensible, co'-.'d have told them how her husband forced him- 
self into her chamber, raving at her with a maniac's incoherent 
fury, tearing off article after article of clothing as he stormed; 
how he hunted her into the sitting-room, threatening her every 
moment with a horrible death ; how she reached the door, in 
which the key, with its numeral attached, had been fortunately 
left on the outside, and turned it on him ere she fled ; lastly, 
how to her dying day she would be haunted by the dire horror 
that this act of self-defence had caused him to leap through the 
window into the courtyard below ! 

Dangerous. 1 79 

It was well for Mrs. Vandeleur that she had a tine friend 
like Egremont to stand by her in this sad crisis of her life. 
Everything that could be done for her comfort was attended to 
by kind-hearted sympathising Dolly, and it was only at her re- 
peated entreaties, and the considerations of propriety she strongly 
urcred — for Norah never lost the habit of thinking for herself — ■ 
that he consented to prosecute his journey with Burton next 
day, and left her to the charge of an English physician resident 
in the town. The following paragraph appeared in Galignani 
within a week of the accident : — 

" Deplorable Catastrophe at Heidelberg, and Supposed Suicide 
of a Gentleman. — On Friday last, this romantic old town was 
startled by one of those awful calamities which occur at intervals 
to rouse us from the apathy of conventional life. An English 
gentleman of high position, accompanied by his lady, and 
attended by several domestics, arrived in the early train from 
Frankfort to take up his quarters at the Rheinische-Hqf. After 
visiting the castle and other objects of interest in the neighbour- 
hood, he sat down to dinner with a few friends, who parted 
from him at an early hour apparently in his usual health and 
spirits. About midnight the inmates of the hotel were alarmed 
by the screams of his lady, and it was found that the unfortu- 
nate gentleman had precipitated himself from an upper-floor 
window into the courtyard below. Dr. Drum of Heidelberg 
was promptly on the spot, but medical skill proved necessarily 
unavailing in so frightful a catastrophe. Continued ill-luck at 
the play-tables of Homburg is rumoured to have been the cause of 
this rash act ; and when we mention the name of the victim as 

John Vandeleur, Esq., of Oakover, in the county of , wo 

leave our readers to infer how enormous must have been the 
pecuniary losses that could thus drive the owner of a princely 
for' dne into the commission of so awful and irrevocable a crime. 
— Quern Deus vult perdere prius dementat !" 

This paragraph, quotation and all, found its way into the 
London papers, and his old associates in clubs or such places of 
public resort talked about " poor Vandeleur " for a day or two, 
and forgot him. " Married, wasn't he ? and for the second time ? " 
said the Club-world. "Ah ! he was always as mad as a hatter ! 
Very pretty girl, was she? Clergyman's daughter somewhere 
near his own place, and thirty years younger than himself.' 
Ah ! I wish she had jumped out of window instead of him, and 
I'd been underneath to catch her!" 

And this was Vandeleur's " Reauiescat in pace .'" 

i8o The While Rost. 

a woman's work. 

I remember long ago to have witnessed a thrilling drama called, 

if my memory serves me, by the appalling title of The Vampire, 
the continuity of which was entrusted, with blind confidence 
in their powers of ideality, to the imagination of an English 
audience. Between its acts, while the orchestra played the 
" Galop" in Gustavus, while you rose in your stall, turned round 
to survey the house, wiped your glasses, and sat down again, an 
interval of fifty years or more was supposed to elapse. I will not 
call upon my readers for quite so elastic a stretch. I will only 
ask them to imagine that more than a lustre, say rather less than 
two, has passed away since the quiet of the Rheinische-Hof at 
Heidelberg was disturbed by the eccentricities of its English 
visitors, — such a period as makes but little difference in our own 
feelings, or our own appearance, but sadly thins our male friends' 
hair, and plays the deuce with the skin and teeth of the woman 
we adore — such a period as scatters over the world almost any 
party of half-a-dozen, however staunch and cohesive it may have 
boasted its immutability — such a period as has materially altered 
the fortunes and position of each individual in our story. Per- 
haps of none more than Gerard Ainshe, destined as it would 
seem to fill the part of that " rolling stone" which proverbially 
"gathers no moss;" though why any stone, rotatory or at rest, 
should be the better for that vegetable covering, I leave for ex- 
planation to those who are more discerning in the wisdom of 
proverbs than myself. 

Gerard, then, ruined and almost broken-hearted, must have 
had no resource left but for a sum of money received through 
Messrs. Goldsmith, from a banker at Heidelberg, to be delivered 
into the young man's own hand, on receipt of an undertaking 
in writing that he would leave Homburg and its temptations 
within an hour. The conditions were necessarily accepted, and 
Gerard, penniless but for this timely assistance, found himself 
cast on the world with a few pounds indeed in his pocket, but a 
very vague idea of where he was to get any more when these 
were spent. 

There was a refuge, however, for the destitute in those days, 
and a resource for the desperate, of which we hear but little now. 
Some few years ago when a man thrust his hands in his trousers 

A Woman s Work. i8l 

pockets, to find them empty, he borrowed all he could get from 
the friend who would pay highest to get rid of him (generally 
a relative, or one on whom he had some claim of kindred or 
gratitude), bought two red shirts and a revolver, took a steerage 
passage in a " Black Ball Liner," and was off to the gold- 
dig^inafs ! 

The plan had many advantages ; not the least of them being 
the probability that the adventurer would never come back. 

So this young gentleman, who had scarcely done a day's work 
in his life, made his way to the modern El Dorado, to cook, and 
dig, and wield a pickaxe, and shake a riddle till his back ached, 
alternating these labours with the nursing of a sick comrade or 
two, and a narrow squeak for his own life from cholera, followed 
by a prostrating attack of fever and ague. 

But it was just such a training as was wanted to make a man 
of him. Who would have believed that the bearded, bronzed, 
powerful-looking fellow sitting over a wood fire at night, with 
three or four miners, not a whit more rough-looking customers 
than himself, turning a "damper" in the embers, holding a 
short black pipe between his teeth, could be the white-handed 
Gerard Ainslie, of Mr. Archer's pupil-room, and the depot of the 
250th Regiment of the line? Who would have supposed, while 
the deep manly voice of a comrade trolled out how 

" They fitted a grey marble slab to her tomb, 
And fair Alice lies under the stone," 

that the drop caught in that shaggy beard, and glistening in the 
fire-light, was a tribute of memory to the delicate beauty of 
pale, haughty Mrs. Vandeleur, how many thousand miles away? 
Tears, indeed ! There were plenty of bold hearts there with 
a spot in them soft enough to be stirred by that plaintive ditty; 
and many a daring, desperate man, sitting over his camp-fire 
within bearing of " Ben Bolt," was crying too, like a woman or 
a child. 

But they worked fourteen hours a-day nevertheless, and 
Gerard found himself at San Francisco with eleven hundred 
pounds in his pocket, and his heart eaten by that home-sickness 
which is so apt to attack the wanderer just when his fortunes 
are on the turn, and it is folly to think of going back so soon. 

Here the demon of play took hold of him once more, and he 
lost nearly half his gains in a single venture. But it cured him. 
The man was altered now. His whole character was hardened 
and improved. He had been living for months together with 

l8» The White Ruse. 

his life in his hand. He had earned every penny he got literally 
with the sweat of his brow. He had shed blood in self-defenee 
without scruple, but he had nursed more than one staunch 
friend through deadly sickness with the gentle tenderness of a 
woman. He had lost the selfishness that makes a man a gambler. 
With him, indeed, it had been the selfishness of too plastic and 
impressionable a nature ; but it was gone. He had been through 
the fire, and was forged, so to speak, and tempered into steel : 
yet one image, that of Norah Welby, the fair young girl he 
remembered so vividly under the cedar at her father's parsonage, 
was burnt all the deeper and more indelibly into his heart. It 
kept him pure through many a scene of vice and temptation j 
if not a happier, he felt that it made him a better man ; and, 
as he sometimes told himself with a sigh, it could never be 

Gerard Ainslie played no more afier his loss at San Francisco, 
but he abandoned all intention of returning at once to England, 
and ventured his remaining six hundred on a speculation of 
sheep-farming, which seemed promising enough, in Vancouver's 
Island. For a year or two he prospered wonderfully. His farm 
flourished, his flocks and herds increased, he erected water-mills, 
he hired emigrants from the Scottish Highlands who were not 
afraid of work, and entered fairly on the high road to fortune. 
He had even taken to himself an overseer, and considered he 
was entitled to a few weeks sporting relaxation in the bush. 
So he started on a two months' expedition, killed very little 
game, and returned to find himself a ruined man. His overseer 
had sickened and died. His Highland emigrants had neglected 
everything. The rot had broken out amongst his sheep, and the 
murrain had swept off his cattle. Worse than all, a flood had 
come down to spoil his crops, and had carried away the mills in 
which he had sunk nearly his whole capital. The wreck of his 
little fortunes barely enabled him to return to the diggings, and 
begin again, richer only in experience than when he came out 
from England many years before. 

But men get used to hard usage from Fortune, as from any 
other foe. After the second time or so, nobody cares a fig for a 
knock-down blow, moral or physical. Gerard was man enough 
to feel thankful now that Norah s happiness was in no way 
dependent on his exertions ; that she was comfortable, well pro- 
vided for, and had almost forgotten him. Not quite : he would 
not. have her forget him quite. So he took to the mattock 
again with a will, but it was uphill work this, time. Most of 

A Humans IVork. 183 

the holes he tried were worn out, and once (a rare occurrence) 
he was robbed by his mate; but, after many fluctuations, he 
found himself at last with wrinkles about his eyes, and a few 
grey hairs in his brown beard, on board a noble packet-ship, 
plunging gallantly before the trades, homeward bound! 

His passage was paid ; he had a few dollars in a pocket-book 
for mess expenses, and two hundred pounds in gold sewed into 
a belt, which he wore under his shirt. He would not be robbed 
by comrade or shipmate a second time. And this modest sum 
represented as many years of labour, as much of privation and 
self-denial, as have sometimes gone to the acquisition of half- 
a-million ! 

The good ship ran her knots off handsomely enough, and about 
daybreak on a spring morning came alongside the quay at Liver- 
pool, to discharge, first her passengers, and ' hen the cargo of 
wool and tallow with which she floated deep ,n the water. For 
the accommodation of the former, an inclined plane, consisting 
of a slippery plank or two, with a lofty hand-rail, was hastily 
thrust upward; and along this insecure gangway the steerage 
passengers, following each other like a flock of sheep, slipped, 
and climbed, and stumbled to the shore. Gerard was in no 
hurry, but drifted onward with the others, his little valise in his 
hand, the belt that carried all his worldly wealth round his 
waist. Immediately in front of him was a woman returning to 
England with two fatherless children — the one in her arms, the 
other, an urchin of scarcely four years old, clinging to the skirts 
of her dirty cotton gown. The little fellow seemed bewildered 
by the crush, confusion, and novelty of the situation ; he had 
forgotten what land was like, and his poor short legs were 
cramped and numbed by long confinement on board ship. He 
missed his footing, let go of his mother's gown, and passing 
easily under the hand-rail, tumbled headlong into six fathom of 
water in the dock-basin. It was a ghastly face that turned 
on Gerard's under the grey light of early morning; but in the 
mother's wild, hopeless, tortured stare he read what had hap- 
pened almost before the scream rose on her pale, parted lips, 
and the splash below subsided into eddying circles of green, 
bubbling water. 

He never thought twice about it. Ere they eould heave a 
rope's-end from the quay, he was overboard too, diving after 
a wisp of white that eluded his reach, like a streak of dim, 
distant light in a dream. The seconds are very long under 
\,ater. It seemed an age before he could grasp it ; but he rose 


184 The White Rose. 

at last, child and all, to the surface, the lighter that his belt had 
given way, and the whole of his two hundred sovereigns were 
buried far below the good ship's keel — a ransom, and a cheap 
one, as he swore directly he got his breath, for the poor, innocent 
little life. 

They had him, with his pale, limp burden clinging to his 
neck, in the bight of a rope the instant he appeared ; and they 
cheered him, those honest sailors, with a will. Nay, they even 
raised a modest subscription amongst themselves, when they 
learned his loss, that brought the tears into his eyes. While the 
half-frantic mother, who had nothing to give but her prayers, 
knelt at his feet on the hard quay, and kissed his brown, 
weather-beaten hands, calling him an angel from heaven all the 
time ! And so he was to her the good angel of deliverance, for 
whom she taught her children, too, to pray such prayers as I 
think are never offered up in vain. 

Thus it was that Gerard Ainslie touched English ground once 
more, as poor in worldly goods as when he left it, but rich in a 
fund of self-control and self-reliance, not to mention the glow 
of a gallant action, and the praise of a few stout, honest, kindly 


"after long years." 

I am persuaded that in our English climate, and under the con- 
ditions of our social existence, so favourable to their ascendancy, 
women wear considerably better than men. I know such an 
opinion is rank heresy with the multitude, and that it is held an 
established axiom, though I am ignorant how it can be borne 
out by common-sense, that a woman is virtually older than a 
man of the same age. The truth of this assertion I emphatically 
deny. Go into any London drawing-room, or other gathering 
of the upper classes, and while there is no mistaking the men of 
forty, you will find it impossible, judging by appearance, to guess 
any of the women's ages within ten years. The same argument 
holds good, though in a modified degree, at a country merry- 
making or a fair. Jack, when his eighth lustre is quivering on 
its close, shows marks of time and hard usage far more plainly 
than Gill, and finds himself bent, grey, and wrinkled, while she 
remains brown, comely, and "upright as a bolt." 

The years, then, with their recurring hardships and vicisgi- 

"After Long Years" 185 

tudes, that scored lines on Gerard Ainslie's brow, and left little 
silver threads about his temples, had but developed Norah Van- 
deleur's beauty into the grace and majesty of mature woman- 
hood. While she retained all her girlish symmetry of form, she 
had acquired a certain dignity of gait and bearing that would 
have become a queen. While her mere physical charms had lost 
nothing of their colour and freshness, the deep eyes, the rare 
smile, had gained such powers of fascination as spring from a 
cultivated intellect : alas ! too often, also, from a saddened, 
suffering heart. 

"Isn't she beautiful? But she doesn't look happy!" Such 
was the verdict in every society she entered. Such was the ex- 
pression of admiration, so_ qualified, from nine out of every ten 
people who turned round to look at her as she walked through 
a room. 

With great personal advantages, with a subdued, graceful, and 
exceedingly natural manner, it required but a very few London 
seasons to establish Mrs. Vandeleur as one of the best known 
and most eagerly sought after of those beautiful ornaments 
whom people are always anxious to see on their staircases, in 
their reception-rooms, and at their pleasantest dinner-parties. 
Strange to say, the women did not hate her half so rancorously 
as might have been expected. At first, indeed, the appearance 
in their cruising-grounds of a craft so trim, so taut, so formidable 
as a privateer, and carrying guns calculated to do such execu- 
tion, roused resistance, no less than apprehension, and they 
prepared to combine against her with that energetic animosity, 
devoid of scruple, ruth, or fair play, which is so commendable a 
feature in their warfare on their own sex. 

But when they found, as they soon did, that the beautiful, 
rakish-looking schooner was averse to piracy, and careless of 
plunder ; when they saw her dismiss the prizes that ran so 
eagerly under her bows, contemptuously indeed, and with little 
good-will, but obviously as scorning nothing more than the 
notion of towing them into port ; when, to speak plainly, they 
discovered that Mrs. Vandeleur cared as little for the homage of 
mankind in general, including their own faithless adorers, as for 
all the rest of the glitter by which she was surrounded, looking, 
as indeed she feit, a good deal bored with the whole thing, they 
declared, first, neutrality, then adhesion, soon protested that it 
was better to have her for a friend than an enemy, and finally 
paid her the high compliment of voting her one of themselves. 

She had taken a charming little house in Belgravia, of which 

186 The White Rose. 

the door seemed always fresh painted, and the bell-handles lately 
gilt. Her footmen were tall and well powdered, hei horses 
stepped up to their noses, and her carriages looked as if they 
went every year to be "done up " at the coachmaker's. A pair 
of those valuable horses, one of those well-varnished carriages, 
was to be seen every night in the season waiting for Mrs. Van- 
deleui, whenever there was a gathering of the smartest people in 
London. These assemblages are not always intensely amusing. 
1 believe coachman and horses were less delighted to drive home 
than the mistress herself. Nevertheless, one year after another 
found her going the same monotonous round, — flattered, ad- 
mired, courted, lonely, weark-i, wondering why she did it, and 
vowing every season should be her last. 

People thought it "so odd Mrs. Vandeleur didn't marry! 
and more than one spendthrift, faultless in attire and irresistible 
in manners, took upon himself, at short notice, to ask the 
question from a personal point of view. I never heard that any 
of these could complain of not receiving a sufficiently explicit 
answer. But an elderly nobleman, with an unencumbered rent- 
roll and a grown-up family, who really admired her for hersel.t, 
took her rebuff so much to heart that he left London forthwith, 
though in the middle of June, and was seen no more till the 
last fortnight in July. 

Perhaps this disconsolate suitor, whose first wife had been 
what is popularly called " a Tartar," studied Mrs. Vandeleur's 
character with more attention than the rest. He used to puzzle 
himself as to why it was he got on so much better with her in 
general society than alone. He used even to fancy that if his 
love-making could only be done across a dinner-table, he might 
have a chance of success j but you can't tell a woman you are 
getting too ibrid of her for your own happiness — which I 
imagine is 3i good a way of opening the trenches as mry other 
• — through 3i\ cpergne and a quantity of ierns ! He used to 
marvel why, in a tete-a-tete, she was so conventional, so guarded, 
so chilling, absent, too, in manner, whatever he might say, as 
if she was thinking of something else. Above all would he have 
given hi-> earldom to know what it was, or whom, that those 
deep, dreamy eyes were looking at, through, and far beyond his 
own goodly pei'son — far beyond the Venetian blinds in the 
windows, his brougham in the street, and his brother-in-law's 
house over the way. 

So, you see, a good many people were in love w>!"L isgndsome 
M':s. Vandeleur, all in their different styles; for the epidemic, 

"After Long Years, ' 187 

though dangerous, no doubt, in some cases, attacks its victims 
\n various dissimilar forms. With one it produces a deep and 
abiding sore, burning, festering, eating its pernicious way into 
the quick ; with another it becomes a low fever, dispiriting, 
querulous, prostrating body and mind alike; while from you or 
me it may pass away in a slight local inflammation, best cured 
by tonics, anodynes, or perhaps the homoeopathic remedy of a 

When it has taken deep root in the system, and can withstand 
the. wholesome influence of absence, change of scene, and fresh 
faces, I had rather not prescribe for it. There is, indeed, one 
specific left, proverbially irremediable as death, and it is called 
Marriage; but I will not take upon myself to affirm that even 
this last resource, desperate though it be, would prove successful 
111 some of the more fatal cases that have come under my notice. 

With all her noble, well-dressed, well-known lovers and ad- 
mirers, it may be that Mrs. Vandeleur had none so unselfish, so 
devoted, so true as Gerard Ainslie, in his obscure loggings and 
his shabby clothes — Gerard Ainslie., who for all these long years 
had never looked upon her face but in his dreams, and yet to 
whom, sleeping or waking, that dear face was ever present, pale, 
delicate, and beautiful as of old. This idea — for it was but an 
idea, after all — had grown to be the one refinement of his 
life, the one link that connected him with the other pleasant 
world which he began to remember but dimly, to which he saw 
no prospect that he would ever return. 

He had come to London, of course, and with a certain sensa- 
tion of honest pride that at least he had been no burden to his 
relation, sought out his great-uncle to ask, not for assistance, 
but a simple recommendation and assurance that he was an 
honest man. The old gentleman had married his housekeeper, 
and the door was shut in Gerard's face. He turned rather 
bitterly away, and for a moment wished himself back in Van- 
couver's Island; but he was accustomed to hard usage now. He 
had a pound or two in his pocket, and his training during the last 
few years had made of the eager, impulsive stripling a si rong, 
persistent man. 

He determined not to break in on his little store till he could 
use it tc advantage. That same afternoon he earned a supper 
and a bed unloading one of the lighters at a wharf below bridge. 
The men who worked with him were little rougher than some 
ot hi-, mates nt the diggings — more vicious, perhaps, certainly 
uu\ so courteous, and less reckless; but he shared his tobacco 

188 The White Rose. 

and drank his beer with them contentedly "enough. Nay, he 
engaged himself at good wages for a fortnight's spell at the 
same labour, which did him a deal of good, and put a few more 
shillings in his pocket. These kept him while he tried his hand 
at a little authorship for the penny papers, and then lie resolved 
to embark all his capital, something short of five pounds, in 
another venture. There was nothing of the gambler left in 
Gerard now but the cool courage of a wise speculator, whose 
experience tells him when it is justifiable to risk all. 

So he invested in a suit of clothes, such as he had not worn 
for years. Scanning himself in the tailor's full-length glass, he 
could not forbear a smile. 

" It's odd enough," he muttered. " I'll be hanged if I don't 
look like a gentleman still!" And so he did j and so thought 
the editor of The Holborn Gazette and Sporting Telegraph for 
the East End, when the unsuccessful gold-digger stepped into 
the office of that wonderful journal to offer his contributions 
with as much indifference as if he had been a duke. Truth to 
tell, he cared little whether they were accepted or not, having in 
his heart a hankering preference, which common-sense told him 
was ill-judged, for the out-of-door labour and rough hard-working 
life on the river. 

The editor, a man of observation, could not believe that 
weather-browned face and those large muscular shoulders were 
of the fraternity who live by wielding the pen. So well- 
developed a frame, clad in broad-cloth, instead of fustian, could 
only belong to the classes who have leisure to spend their time 
in open-air pursuits for pleasure, rather than profit. And as it 
is notorious that a man who can make his own terms always has 
the best of the bargain, Gerard Ainslie walked out into the 
street with an assurance of employment that would at least keep 
him from starving. 

And now, I think, came the unhappiest part of his life. His 
work was distasteful, and he got through it with difficulty. 
The profits enabled him, indeed, to live, but that was all. He 
had no society of any kind, and often found himself pining for 
the rough cordiality and boisterous mirth of the gold-seekers ; for 
the deep voices, the jolly songs, the glare of the camp-fires, the 
fragrant fumes of the "honey-dew," and the tot of rum that 
passed from beard to beard, with an oath, perhaps, but an oath 
as expressive of good-fellowship and good- will as a blessing. 

A cup of weak tea, in a two-pair back, seemed but a mild 
exchange for the old roystering life, after all. His health failed, 

"After Long Years." 189 

his cheek grew hollow, and he began to assume the appearance 
of a worn-out broken-down man. About this period Gerard 
very nearly took to drinking. He was saved by an accident, 
resulting, indeed, from the very habit he was disposing himself 
to acquire. When work was over, he would go to dinner, a( 
dine he must, at the nearest tavern. Without absolutely ex< 
ceeding, he would then sit smoking and sipping, smoking anc 
sipping, till it was time to go to bed. What could he do ? It 
was his only relaxation. To spend the night at a theatre was 
hot and expensive ; to walk the streets, cold and uncomfortable j 
besides, it wore his boots out. He tried " Evans's " more than 
once; but Mr. Green was so courteous and agreeable, the 
singing so ravishing, the cave of harmony so comfortable, that 
it led him into the disbursement of more small change than 
he could afford. So he relapsed into such dull, stupid, sleepy 
evenings as I have described. They told on his dress, his con- 
stitution, and his appearance. One night, after he had exhausted 
the evening papers, a neighbour, leaving the next table, handed 
him the Morning Post, a journal good enough to devote whole 
columns to recording the amusements of the aristocracy, and 
obtaining in consequence a vast circulation about the West End 
of London, though rarely to be found in any of the chop-houses 
near the Strand. Glancing his eye wearily over the " Fashion- 
able Intelligence," Gerard started to see Mrs. Vandeleur's name 
amongst a hundred others, as having been at the Opera the 
night before. He sprang to his feet, threw away his half- 
smoked cigar, and finished his gin-and-water at a gulp. She was 
in London, then ! Actually in the same town with himself! 
Perhaps not half a mile off at that moment ! And then the 
cold, sickening thought came over him, that he, the ruined, 
shabby, vagrant penny-a-liner, was separated as effectually here, 
from the rich, high-bred, fashionable lady, as if the Pacific still 
rolled between them, and he was again sifting gravel in his red 
shirt, to find the gold he had never coveted so eagerly as now. 

But the burning thirst came on him once more — the 
feverish, ungovernable longing to look on that face again. He 
would have sold bis life, he thought, almost his soul, but to see 
her for a minute. He could not rest j he could not sit still. 
The evening was far advanced, but he wandered out into the 
streets, with the wild notion, which yet carried a vague happi- 
ness, that he was in search of Norah; that, come what might, 
he would at least stand face to face with her again. His own 
weary footstep, once so quick and active, still reminded him of 

190 The White Rose. 

those walks across the Marshes, in the happy days when life was 
all before him, and hope had something to offer better than 
wealth, or honour, or renown. It seemed but yesterday ; and 
yet the contrast between then and now smote him with a pity 
for himself that filled his eyes with tears. They did Liia good : 
they cleared his brain, and he grew practical once more. 

He was determined to see Norah, no doubt ; but he must find 
cut where she lived; and for that purpose he entered a stationer's 
shop in Bond Street, not yet closed, bought a pennyworth of 
note-paper — which left him exactly a shilling in his pocket — and 
asked leave to look in the " Court Guide." 

He did not need to hunt far down the V's for the name he 
wanted ; and in less than twenty minutes, without considering 
what he should do next, he found himself at Mrs. Vandeleur's 

It was something to feel the possibility of her being within 
ten yards of the spot where he stood ; but his wandering life, 
with all its vicissitudes, had not rooted out a regard for those 
inexorable convenances which are stronger than gates of triple 
brass and bars of steel. How could he ask to see Mrs. Van- 
deleur at nine o'clock in the evening? he in his now shabby 
hat and worn-out clothes ! Why, the servant would probably 
send for a constable to order him away ! No, he must trust to 
chance and time ; patient and weary, like a " painter" crouching 
for its spring, or a hunter waiting at a "salt-lick" for a deer. 

He had made several turns opposite the house, and had, 
indeed, attracted the attention of an observant policeman, when 
one of the many postal deliveries with which our leisure hou" 
are cursed came to his assistance. A powdered head rose from 
Mrs. Vandeleur's area to the level of the postman's feet, and a 
simpering face grinned through the railings. 

" Robert Smart J " asked the Government functionary, stern 
and abrupt, as behoves one whose time is precious. 

"Robert Smart it is!" answered the footman, and imme- 
diately tore open the envelope thrust into his hand. It was 3 
ship-letter, written on thin paper. 

Gerard had found his opportunity, and now drew k bow at a 

" Is youi name Smart ? " said he, stepping short, and looking 
at the man as if he saw something in his face that he recognised. 
" Haven't you a brother at Ballarat ? If so, I've seen him 
within a twelvemonth." 

"No!" answered the man, grinning ag3in wi'h surprise and 

" /if ler Long Years." 191 

gratification ; " but I've a cousin there of iny own name. I've 
got this here e'. tor from him just now." 

Gerard had picked up some experience knocking about the 
world. " I can tell you all about him," said he, " for I knew 
him well. If you're only half as good a chap as your cousin, I 
dare say you'll step round and take a toothful of something short 
to our better acquaintance. I little thought my old pal's cousin 
would be one of the first friends J should meet in this great 
rambling town." 

Such an invitation was too tempting to be refused. Mr. 
Smart had bat to return indoors for his coat, and make some 
arrangements with an under-housemaid, contrary to the standing 
orders of the establishment, as to answering the door-bell. Ere 
many minutes elapsed, the footman was deep in a quartern 
of gin-and-cloves, purchased with his last shilling by his new 

Communicative and affable, Mr. Smart soon informed Gerard 
of Mrs. Vandeleur's present whereabouts and future movements. 
She was dining with a " h earl," as he called it, near St. James's 
Square, and was going thence to Lady Billesdon's party. He 
knew it, though he was himself off duty that night, because the 
carriage was ordered to fetch her at eleven, and she was not 
coming home to dress, but going straight on from her dinner to 
the ball. Eleven o'clock he was sure, for he carried the order 
himself to the coachman, who " cussed horrible ;" and wouldn't 
his new friend take his share of another quartern at his, Mr. 
Smart's, expense ? 

But his new friend left him more abruptly than he considered 
compatible with good manners, for eleven was already striking. 
Gerard hurried off to the " h earl's," in the vicinity of St. 
James's Sq T;, but he was too late. Then he walked up and 
down all night, and waited till morning dawned, and so saw 
Mrs. Vandeleur get into her carriage to go home ; nay, had the 
additional felicity of picking off the pavement a certain white 
rose she dropped, to lay it inside his threadbare old waistcoat, 
next his heart. 

This was the man I saw leaning against the street-railings in 
strong suppressed emotion when I myself was leaving Lady 
Billesdon's hospitable mansion after her charming ball; and 
thus, having brought my story back to the point from which it. 
started, I must take what seafaring men call " a fresh departure," 
and proceed henceforth in regular order through the succeeding 

102 The White Rose. 



A man who is leading an unhealthy life at any rate., and who 
walks about the streets all night under strong feelings of anxiety 
and agitation, becomes faint and exhausted towards sunrise, 
and disposed to look favourably even on such humble refresh- 
ment as may be procured at an early cofTee-stali. Passing one 
of these, Gerard, feeling in his pockets for the coin he knew was 
not forthcoming, cast certain wistful glances at a cup of the 
smoking beverage, which were not lost on the customer for 
whom it had been poured out — an individual of remarkable, not 
to say eccentric, demeanour and appearance, oddly cloaked, oddly 
booted, oddly hatted, majestic in manners, and somewhat shabby 
in dress. 

Diffusing around him an odour of tobacco and brandy, this 
personage stopped Gerard with an elaborate bow. 

" Permit me, sir," he said, in a deep hoarse voice 5 "I have 
discovered, perhaps, the hottest and strongest coffee made in 
the metropolis. Will you allow me to offer you a cup in the 
way of kindness ? At my expense, you understand, sir, at my 
expense ! " 

Gerard accepted courteously. The man s manner changed, 
and he looked hard in the other's face. 

"An early bird," said he, folding his shabby cloak across his 
breast as a Romam drapes himself in his toga on the stage ; " an 
early bird, sir, like myself. I make you my compliments, as we 
say over the water. There is a freshness in the morning air, 
and to me nature, the mighty mother of creation, in all her 
moods, is still expansive, still sublime." 

They were standing at Hyde Park Corner, and he pointed 
down Grosvenor Place with the air of one who was indicating 
the snowy range of the Himalayas, for instance, to a friend who 
had just come gasping up to Simla from the plains. 

"Early indeed," answered Gerard, laughing, " for I have not 
been to bed." 

The other hiccoughed, and sucked in a long pull of his hot 

" You take me," said he, "you take me. A man after my 
own heart, sir — a kindred spirit — a gentleman too — excuse 

me " Here he lifted his hat with a grace that was only 

■poilt by the limp state of its brim. "A man of mark, no 

Mr. Barrington-B-elgraie. 193 

doubt., and a justice of peace in your own county, simple as you 
stand here — hey ? Not been to bed, say you ? Marry, sir, no 
more have I. Will you come and break your fast with me? Now, 
at once, here, close at hand. I bid you for sheer good-will. But 
stay — this is scarcely fair." 

He winked solemnly, looked at Gerard with an air of half- 
drunken gravity while he paid for the coffee, then took him by 
the arm, and proceeded very deliberately — 

" I study you, sir — I study you. Do you object to be studied ? 
If you do, say so, and I desist. If you don't, breakfast with me, 
and I'll go on. I studied you from the first, before you reached 
Apsley House. It's my profession, and I glory in it ! Do you 
think now, in the interest of art and as a personal favour, you 
could repeat the same expression you wore then, after break- 
fast ? I could catch it in five minutes. Come, sir, I'll be 
frank with you. I want it for the part of Rinaldo in The 
Rival's Revenge. I've been looking for it for twenty years, and 
hang me if I've ever seen the real trick of the thing till this 
morning. Up here, if you please; they know me here. This way!" 

Gerard was not averse to breakfast, nor unwilling to take 
advantage of any society that might distract him from his own 
thoughts. He accompanied his new friend accordingly into a 
small tavern in one of the streets off Piccadilly, where a snug 
little breakfast was laid for them almost before they had time to 
sit down. While his entertainer extricated himself with some 
difficulty from the voluminous recesses of his cloak, Gerard 
removed his hat, and took a chair opposite the window. The 
other peered curiously in his guest's face. 

" Excuse me," said he; "1 suspected it from the first. I am 
a man of honour. We are alone : you need be under no appre- 
hension. How do you do, Mr. Ainslie ?" 

Gerard started. " You know me then?" he exclaimed. "And 

who the devil are 1 mean, where have I had the pleasure of 

meeting you before ?" 

"You are altered," answered his companion, "and you had 
no more beard than the palm of my hand when I saw you last ; 
but I never forget a face. I have studied your appearance and 
manners many a time for light parts in genteel comedy. I do 
assure you, sir, without compliment now, that my unparalleled 
bucccss in Frank Featherbrain was chiefly owing to your uncon- 
scious exposition of the part. For the real empty-headed fop 
the critics said they never saw its equal." 

" But I don't remember you," said Gerard, not so much flat- 

ip4 The White Rose. 

tered as the other seemed to expect. "Your face is perfectly 
strange to me. And yet," he added, with perfect truth, " I 
don't think I should ever have forgotten it." 

His companion looked much pleased. " Striking, sir," he 
answered, " striking, I believe ; and expressive, it is no vanity to 
admit. But you remember a certain hurdle-race many years 
ago, in which you sustained a severe and heavy fall. I picked 
you up, sir, and saw you home. I was lodging at the same 
house. My name was BrufT then, sir; I have changed it since. 
Mr. Barrington-Belgrave, at your service." Producing a limp 
little card, he handed it to Gerard with a good deal of preten- 

The latter could but express his delight at such an introduc- 
tion; and Mr. Barrington-Belgrave, as we must now call him, 
continued the conversation, working vigorously at his breakfast 
the while. 

"A sad accident, sir, a sad accident. We put you into a fly, 
and we bore you up-stairs, I and — and — another party — an ex- 
tremely talented party that, and with great personal attractions. 
Would it be indiscreet to ask ? Ah ! pardon me, not another 
word. I see I have touched a chord. Poor thing ! poor thing ! 
I remember now; so young, so beauteous, and so early — ah !" 

Mr. Belgrave hid his face, as under the influence of painful 
sympathy, in a red cotton handkerchief. He did not observe, 
therefore, the puzzled expression of Gerard's countenance. The 
latter, indeed, often wondered what had become of Fanny, 
though thinking of her, no doubt, less continuously than was 
due to the remembrance of a wife, who might be alive or dead. 
He inclined, perhaps, to the opinion that she was no more ; but 
this part of his past life had become so distasteful to him, that 
lie dismissed it as much as possible from his thoughts, and, 
indeed, had no means of making inquiries as to her welfare, or 
even her existence, had he been ever so anxious to take her back 
again, which he was not. 

After such a pause as on the stage allows eight bars of music 
to be played without interruption, Mr. Barrington-Belgrave, 
becoming gradually sober, but feeling none the less interested in 
the broken-down gentleman who was breakfasting with him, put 
a leading question. 

" And may I ask, sir, as an old friend — perhaps I should say a 
new friend and an old acquaintance — what you are doing in 
London, and how you like it ?" 

"Doing!" answered Gi raid, glancing down ai his own worn 

Air. Burrington- Belgrave. 195 

at lire ; " why, doing' devilish badly, as you see; and for liking it, 
[ don't like it at all. I'm what they call a hack, I believe, on 
a penny paper. Since you saw me, Mr. Belgrave, I've carried a 
pen, and I've carried a pickaxe. I'll tell you what, the last is 
the easier to handle, and earns the best wages of the two." 

Mr. Belgrave ruminated, rang the bell, and ordered two small 
glasses of brandy. 

"A man of education," he observed dogmatically, "a man of 
observation, a man who has lived in society, and seen the world 
—why don't you write for the stage?" 

Gerard stared, and swallowed his glass of brandy at a gulp. 

" Do they pay you well ?" said he, after a pau«e. " It's not 
a bad idea ; I can but try." 

"If you think of it," answered the other, wisely forbearing 
to commit himself on the remunerative question, " I could put 
you in the way of having a piece read, which is a great matter, 
and sometimes, though not invariably, a necessary preliminary 
to its being accepted. I am engaged myself at present at the 
Accordion, and have some interest with the manager. Between 
you and me, though of course it goes no farther, I am taking 
one or two inferior parts as a personal favour to that gentleman. 
We expect an actress next month from America, who has never 
yet played on English boards : we require a new piece for her 
— something original, startling, galvanic. I told Mr. Bowles, 
only last night, our best chance would be a piece from an untried 
hand. Will you undertake it ? As I said before, if you will 
write, I can engage that he shall read." 

"But I don't understand "stage-business," objected Gerard, 
more than half disposed to comply. " I know nothing about 
your prompter's box, your cues, your exits and entrances, your 
ins and outs, and the rest of it. I'm afraid I should make a rare 
mess, even if I could manage the plot." 

"Pooh! pooh! not a bit of it!" answered the actor. "I'll 
put you right on all those matters of mere detail. I have an 
especial gift for what I call ' drilling a company.' You set to 
work, write the piece, have it ready iu a fortnight, and I'll 
answer for all the rest." 

"Can't you give me a hint or two?" said Gerard, a 'ittle 
alarmed at the magnitude of the undertaking into which he was 
about to plunge. 

"Hints!" replied the actor; "hundreds of them! But 
they're no use. Look ye here, sir. The whole secret of success 
lies in three words. Shall I repeat them ? First, situation ! 

196 The White Rose. 

Second, situation ! Third, situation ! Startle your audience— 
that's the way to treat 'em, sir — and keep 'em startled all 
through. Plot ! what's the use of a plot ? Nobody understands 
it, nor would care to attend to it if they did. Improbabili- 
ties ! you can't have too many of em ! What the devil do 
people go to the play for, but to see something different from 
real life? Drown your characters in a wash-hand basin, cut 
their throats with the door-scraper, or blow them to atoms with 
an Armstrong gun out of a four-post bed ! Don't be afraid of 
it. Give us something to wonder at; but keep all your action 
as much as possible in one place, and mind nobody's on the 
stage for more than two minutes at a time. The less they have 
to say the better. We'll take care there's soft music playing all 
through. It's easier for the author, and pleasanter to the 
audience. I don't think I can tell you anything more. Waiter, 
the bill, and another small glass of brandy. I must wish you 
good morning now. I've to be at rehearsal in an hour. Keep 
in mind what I've said, and your play will run three hundred 
nights, though it hasn't a leg to stand on. Adieu !" 

So Mr. Barrington-Belgrave swaggered off, and Gerard betook 
himself to his melancholy lodging, somewhat inspirited by the 
new opening he espied, and wondering how it was that Mrs. 
Vandeleur, though she had grown more beautiful than ever, 
should have looked so exactly like the picture of her he had 
been wearing in his heart for more years now than he liked to 



Though as yet but a few weeks old at the trade, Gerard Ainslie, 
I fear, had already contracted a vice which appears more or less 
the result of all continuous literary labour — namely, an ignoble 
tendency to become chary of material, to use many words for 
the expression of few ideas, and to beat out the gilding itself very 
thin, so as to cover the greatest possible amount of surface. Tale- 
writing, eve;> for such a paper as the Holborn Gazette, was a 
pursuit less likely to encourage than exhaust fertility of inven- 
tion, and ou»" new-fledged author sat down to his deal writing- 
table with an overwhelming sense of the difficulties he had 
before him. Gerard was far too wise, however, to think 0/ 
abandoning his late career in favour of the new opening offers' 

Original Composition. 197 

by Mr. Barriugton-Belgrave. Under any circumstances, he 
would stick to the Holborn Gazette so long as it produced a 
regular salary. Bread and cheese were hard enough to get. He 
resolved not to leave go of the one while he made a grasp at 
the other; so he began to ponder how that same beating-out 
process, so essential to the making up of his weekly task, might 
be brought to bear on the construction of a melodrama — 
gorgeous, of course, in decoration j characteristic, if possible, in 
dialogue and costume ; but above all, as he remembered with a 
sigh, startling in its situations ! 

He recalled the expression of Mr. Barrington-Belgrave's large, 
close-shaven, beetle-browed face, while insisting on this par- 
ticular essential. He remembered the solemnity, not entirely 
owing to brandy-and-water, of this enthusiast while he warned 
his pupil that extravagance, however glaring, was preferable to 
common-place j he recollected the examples adduced as stimu- 
lants to the attention of a British audience, and his heart sank 
within him while he pondered. But, as I said before, he had 
already learned some of the tricks of the trade ; and it occurred 
to him, after brief consideration, that he might make a tale of 
mystery and horror, on which he was then engaged for the 
Holborn Gazette, answer the double purpose of a thrilling ro- 
mance and a new drama. 

One fellow's hero, as Lord Dundreary would say, is very like 
another fellow's hero 5 and, after all, ring the changes on them 
how you will, there is but little variety, except in dress, amongst 
the puppets that make up the interest of imaginative literature, 
whether for the library or the stage. You will find in 
"Ivanhoe," for instance — and I name that romance because 
everybody has read it, and with equal interest — you will find, I 
say, in " Ivanhoe," the regular stock characters necessary for the 
construction of every narrative and every plot. If you look for 
anything beyond these, you will have considerable difficulty in 
hitting on it. 

i'iibt, there is Wilfrid himself, the hero, pure and simple, 
type of strength, courage, address, rectitude, modesty, and good 
looks. Would he not have been Sir Gawain at the round table, 
Sir Charles Grandison in the last century, and more fire-eating 
dandies than I can name in all the novels of the present ? 
Dickens has got him a situation as an usher at a Yorkshire 
school; Thackeray taught him to paint, sent him to Charter- 
House, and married him to Rowena instead of Rebecca, though 
be took him out of that scrape too before the end of the third 

ivyS The White Rose. 

volume; while Lever, remembering certain proclivities for spur 
and spear, purchased his commission, and shipped him oil to 
serve under the Great Duke in the uniform of an Irish dragoon. 
We might pursue the parallel through every one of the cha- 
racters who attended the tournamev c at Ashby-de-la-Zoucb 
There is the Black Knight, strong, good-tempered, and nor 
burdened with wisdom; Front-de-Bceuf, strong, bad-tempered, 
and totally devoid of scruple. Have we not seen the one with 
bare neck and glazed hat, the other in high boots and broad 
black belt, whenever the nautical drama sets Jack Hearty, the 
blue-jacket, in opposition to Paul Perilous, the pirate? Bois 
Guilbert — and so far the Templar's title remains equally appro- 
priate — has of late become a lawyer, but the sort of lawyer who 
keeps prussic acid in his inkstand, aud a " six-shooter " in his 
blue bag. Is not Bracy the Lovelace of " Clarissa Harlowe," 
and the Sir Charles Coldstream of " Lady Clutterbuck " ? 
Parson Adams was no heavier a bruiser, and scarcely more 
respectable a priest, than the Clerk of Copmanhurst. Gurth 
and Wamba have worn the powder and plush of every livery in 
vogue since the first French revolution. Cedric of Rotherwood 
has come down to farm his own estate of less than a hundred 
acres ; and Athelstane the Unready has been so often before the 
footlights at the shortest notice, and in such various guise, that 
he deserves rather to be called Vertumnus the Versatile. 

With regard to the ladies, for many centuries we have been 
limited to two classes of heroines — the dark-eyed and affec- 
tionate, the blue-eyed and coy. Rowena and Rebecca must be 
quite tired of dressing over and over again for their parts ; and 
if for nothing else, we owe Miss Braddon a mine of gratitude 
that she has introduced us at last to a more original style — to a 
young person with a good deal of red in her hi : r, and a refresh- 
ing contempt for many of our long-cherished superstitions, in- 
cluding those inculcated by the Church Catechism, though it 
must be admitted that, however fascinating she may make her 
wicked witches, the right moral is always skilfully worked out 
in the end. 

If Gerard Ainslie had ever read Miss Braddon's novels, he 
would of course have seized on any one he found untouched, 
and turned it into an original play of his own composition ; but 
there is little time for study at the diggings, and he found him- 
self cast on the meagre resources of his intellect instead. So he 
sat down, and proceeded to convert his half-written story into a 
melodrama in three acts, with three situations in each act, tha 

Original Composition. 1^9 

whole to be played over in less than two hours and a quarter. 
Obvioibly, the dialogue need distress him but little. Interjec- 
tions v ould do most of that. No, those indispensable situations 
were \t hat filled him with misgiving and dismay. 

His own story was of the present time 5 he intended to lay the 
scene of his drama early in the seventeenth century. This be- 
came a matter of trifling importance when he reflected that he 
need but change the dresses of his characters, and make them 
speak the few words they had to say in rather more high-flown 
language. It is always supposed that the later we go back into 
history, the less we find the tone of ordinary conversation 
differing from our advertisements of the present day. 

There was but little modification needed in this respect, for 
the readers of the Holborn Gazette would have been ill-satisfied 
without flowery phrases, and long magniloquent periods, just as 
they thought but little of any domestic story in which the prin- 
cipal personages were not of exalted rank in the peerage. The 
tale which Gerard was now preparing afforded them a duke, 
who kept in close confinement (and this just outside of Belgrave 
Square) a marchioness in her own right, of whom there are in- 
deed not a great many going about at a time, never suffering her 
to leave the house, which was perhaps the reason why the artist 
who illustrated her on wood for the vignettes depicted her under 
all emergencies in a court-dress with feathers and a fan, — the 
duke himself wearing loose trousers, and a frock-coat, in the 
breast of which he studiously concealed his right hand. There 
was to be nobody in the book of inferior station to a baronet, 
except the duke's dishonest steward, and he was to die about 
the middle of the second volume, tortured by remorse, though 
worth half a million of money. 

It would be superfluous to go into the plot of Gerard's novel, 
but it seemed improbable enough to furnish him with the 
necessary " situations " for his play, so down he sat to those 
labours of curtailment, alteration, and disguise, with which such 
original efforts of the intellect are produced. 

It was to be called by the high-sounding title of Pope 
Clement; or, ihe Cardinal's Collapse, and the "situations" he 
trusted would prove startling enough to satisfy the requirements 
of Mr. Barrington-Belgrave himself. Of these perhaps the least 
remarkable wtTe the Pope's discovery of the cardinal on his 
knees to a young lady, disguised as a peasant, who had come to 
confess; the tead of the Catholic Church presiding over a 
council table, under which was concealed on all-fours an Italian 


Add the White Rose. 

brigand, who proved afterwards, as the plot developed itself, t© 
be the cardinal's own son ; lastly, the attempted assassination of 
this cardinal in the gloomy recesses of the Vatican, by that un- 
natural child, whose hand is seized, when on the verge of parri- 
cide, by the young lady formerly disguised as a peasant, with 
whom father and son are both in love, but who, preferring the 
younger admirer, of course, seeks and finds him here very suc- 
cessfully by torchlight. 

It is not to be supposed that such dramatic extravagancies 
were the offspring of Gerard's unassisted brain. On the con- 
trary, he received almost daily visits from Mr. Barrington-Bel- 
grave, who displayed a touching interest in the work, pruning 
dialogues, offering suggestions, and consuming a good many 
" brandies-and-sodas " the while. The torchlight scene, indeed, 
was born chiefly of effects produced by that imaginative stimu- 
lant. In less than a fortnight the drama was pronounced ready for 
perusal, and Mr. Barrington-Belgrave having previously treated 
the author to another heavy breakfast, led him off in triumph 
to the stage-manager's residence, for inspection and possible 
approval, or, as he happily expressed it, " on sale or return." 

The Accordion Theatre stood in the immediate neighbour- 
hood of Seven-Dials. It is needless to observe that Mr. Bowles, 
on whom devolved all the responsibility and nine-tenths of the 
trouble connected with that place of amusement, lived as far off 
as possible from the scene of his labours. After a long walk, 
terminating in the remote regions of Clapham Rise, Gerard 
Ainslie found himself waiting in the front parlour of a neat 
little two-storied house, trying not to hear what was said by 
Messrs. Bowles and Belgrave in the next room about his own 
composition. It was difficult, however, to avoid distinguishing 
the low tones of the actor's voice, obviously urging " extenuating 
circumstances," in reply to the manager's higher notes, rising 
with a noble scorn into such expressions as these : " Imprac- 
ticable ! Impossible ! Hangs fire ! Drags like a dredging-net ! 
Don't tell me j I can see that without reading it ! Look what a 
business we made of the last. Devilish nearly lost us Kate 
Carmine ; — cost me the doubling of her salary. What the devil 
did you bring him to me for ? However, ' the Boss ' will be 
here at the half-hour. I'll lay the blame on him. See him ? 
Well, I don't mind. Devilish gentlemanlike fellow, of course. 
These poor, broken-down chaps always are. Ask him to step in." 

So Gerard stepped in, and found himself face to face with a 
thin, quiet, well- bred man, who expressed in a tone as different 

Original Composition. 20 5 

as possible from that which he had heard through the folding- 
doors, first regret, at having kept him waiting, next, pleasure in 
making his acquaintance, and lastly, grave doubts whether the 
play under discussion, though denoting genius, would be adapted, 
without considerable alteration, to the company and resources 
of the Accordion. 

Mr. Barrington-Belgrave's face brightened. He knew the 
manager, and this sounded a little more hopeful. Not only 
did he take an interest in the production of Pope Clement on 
Gerard's account, but he was also persuaded that I he character 
of the brigand was specially adapted to his own talents ; and he 
had, indeed, offered several suggestions during the composition 
of the piece, with a view of electrifying a London audience by 
h'.s rendering of that part. Gerard, watching his friend's coun- 
tenance, took courage, and offered humbly enough to alter his 
work in any way that might be pointed out. 

" You must give us two more women's parts," suggested 
Air. Bowles j "or, let me see — pages. Yes, pages will do better. 
Can you put in a couple of pages, with something to say ? You 
know," he added, looking at the actor for corroboration, "I 
can't keep Lydia Goddard and little Jessie White idle j and they 
draw well, in boys' dresses, both of them." 

" Nothing easier ! " answered Gerard, wondering in his heart 
how he should get them in. 

" Then there's Violante. Ain't that her name ? Yes, Vio- 
lante. You'll have to kill her. She's no use if you don't kill 
her. Miss Carmine is the only die-er out this season. I don't 
think — I do not think, we could persuade Miss Carmine to take 
a part without a die in it. Then about Mrs. Golightly. There's 
nothing for Mrs. Golightly. No ! She would never condescend 
to play the Pope. I fear it's impossible. I'm really afraid we 
must give it up, or at any rate put it off to another season. 
Excuse me; there's the door-bell." 

Mr. Barrington-Belgrave, watching Gerard's face, which had 
grown of late sadly worn and pale, was surprised to see it flush 
at the sound of a voice in the passage. 

Next moment the door opened, and " the Boss," as Mr, 
Bowles called him, entered the room. 

That gentleman saluted Mr. Belgravewith his usual courtesy j 
then stood transfixed, and gaping, in speechless surprise. 

Our dramatic author broke the silence first. 

" Why, Dolly ! " said he, " I had no idea that I should ever 
see you again." 

aoa The White Rose. 

To which the other only answered, " Gerard ! " but in a tone 
of astonishment that spoke volumes. 

It is needless to observe, Gerard's play was accepted forth- 
with. Mr. Egremont, who liked to be busy, had taken upon 
himself the superior management of the Accordion Theatre 5 
finding the money, of course, but otherwise impeding its effi- 
ciency in every possible way ; and Dolly was not a man to lose 
such a chance of helping an old friend at a pinch. It was 
wonderful how quickly Mr. Bowles's difficulties melted into 
air. The part of Violante should be kept for Miss Carmine, 
failing the American star, whose advent still seemed uncertain. 
The two young ladies who affected young gentlemen's dresses 
must take whatever parts they were offered, and be thankful. 
Lastly, if Mrs. Golightly did not choose to play Pope Clement she 
might let it alone, and see the performance from the front. 

To Mr. Barrington-Belgrave's exceeding admiration, the real 
manager and the inexperienced playwright walked out arm-in- 
arm, the former observing, as he jumped into the Hansom-cab 
waiting at the door, " Good-bye, old man ; I've got your address 
written down here. I wish you could come with me and see 
the Cup run for. I never was so pleased in my life. We'll 
meet to-morrow. Take care of yourself." Then, through the 
little trap-door overhead. " Nine Elms ! As hard as you can 
go. You've just twenty minutes to do it in. Shove on !" 



Who that is doomed to spend the sweet summer-time in London 
would miss a Cup day at Ascot, provided he had leisure to make 
holiday and means for enjoying it ? Certainly not Dolly Egre- 
mont, whose whole nature stirred and softened to country in- 
fluences and country scenes, nowhere so powerful, nowhere so 
delightful, as in the neighbourhood of Windsor Forest. Long 
before the first week in June, Dolly used to find himself pining 
for cowslip fragance, and butter-cup glitter, in waving meadow- 
grass ; for hawthorn, pink and white, on thick green hedges j 
for golden laburnum trailing across clean cottage windows, and 
lilacs drooping over bright red-brick walls. Ah ! the cockneys 
are the people to enjoy the country. And Dolly Egremont 
loved to boast he was cockney enough to delight even in tha 

The Cup Day. 203 

ponds about Wandsworth, and the fresh, wild, prairie-like 
expanse of Barnes Common. As for racing, — well, racing is 
good fun enough in its way, providing your ventures on that 
uncertain sport are limited to a sovereign with your friend, or a 
box of Houbigant's gloves for ''the small white hand " that, 
alas ! may be " never your own ! " And Dolly liked to look at 
a good horse as well as most other Englishmen, while, knowing 
but little of the animal's points, he admired it, perhaps, all the 
more, and certainly formed a clearer notion of its probable suc- 
cess. Whereas old Cotherstone, who had been breeding thorough- 
bred stock ever since he came of age, and boasted himself what 
they call at Newmarket one of " your make-and-sh ape men," 
backed his own opinion freely, losing thereby with considerable 
spirit. Indeed, for the two-year-old scrambles at Northampton 
and elsewhere, he was so consistently in the wrong as to have 
become a proverb. It was Dolly's good fortune to meet this 
veteran sportsman in the train. He might have reaped a good 
deal of information as to weights, distances, and that mysterious 
property racing men call " form," had his thoughts not been 
elsewhere. Old Cotherstone voted him a capital listener, and 
prosed on with a perseverance that, to use his habitual jargon, 
would have convinced the meanest capacity of his powers " to 
stay a distance ; " but Dolly, looking out at window on his own 
side of the carriage, was pondering on other silks (han those 
which nutter down the straight to be marshalled by a patient 
starter waving a red flag, of other matches than those which 
carry weight for age, and of a race run on different conditions 
from Derby, Oaks, or Ascot Cup — a race not always to the swift, 
but for which hare and tortoise start on equal terms , in which 
the loser is sometimes less to be pitied than the winner, and of 
which the " settling," however long put off, is sure to be heavy, 
if not unsatisfactory, at last. 

Dolly, you see, notwithstanding his jovial, prosperous ap- 
pearance, considered himself at this time the boundeo slave of a 
damsel who has already appeared in these pages unds-t the name 
of Miss Tregunter. He had even arrived at calling hrr "Jane," 
but this only in his dreams. That eligible young [>erson had 
expressed an intention of appearing at Ascot with thb rest of the 
world on the Cup day, and Dolly, judging by analog , expected 
great results from the romantic influences of scenery, sunshine, 
sentiment, judicious flattery, lobster-salad, and chamyMgne-cup. 

Miss Tregunter was an heiress. To do him juxi ice, Dolly 
often wished she was not. The field would have bren clearet 

t04 The White Rose. 

of rivals, and as his attachment was really disinterested, he would 
have liked to convince her his admiration was solely for herself. 
To-day he meant to say something very marked indeed ; he had 
not the remotest idea what. No wonder, therefore, he listened 
so gravely to Cotherstone's resume of the racing season up to the 
present meeting, concluding with a declaration that one could 
always prophesy these later triumphs from the performances of 
horses in the spring. 

"Ah!" said Dolly, waking out of a brown study, and 
clothing his thoughts as usual in a garbled quotation from one 
of his favourite poets, — 

" In the spring a young man's fancy 
Lightly turns to thoughts of love ; 
Dam by Stockwell out of Nancy — 
How they squeeze and how ;hey shove ! " 

Old Cotherstone stared at this dovetailing of his own conver- 
sation, his companion's thoughts, and the pressure they were 
forced to undergo on emerging from the train at the narrow 
entrance to the course. Here, however, they separated, the 
elder man to penetrate the betting-ring and find out what they 
were laying about Hyacinth for the Cup, the younger to pur- 
chase " cards of the running horses, names, weights, and colours 
of the riders," for immediate presentation to his lady-love. 

We are more interested at present in the less business-like 
performance of the two, and will follow Mr. Egremont to the 
grand stand, where ladies now sit in their private boxes much 
as they sat some eighteen hundred years ago to smile on the 
dying gladiator in the amphitheatre — some dozen centuries later 
to wince and shrink, looking down pale and pretty, on splin- 
tered lance and rolling charger in the tilt-yard — last week, and 
week before, and every week in the season, to whisper, and flirt, 
and fan themselves, complaining softly of the heat, at the Italian 

Dolly's heart beat faster when he reached Mrs. Vandeleur's 
box, for under that lady's wing, as having long attained 
matronly rank, he knew he should find Miss Tregunter; and 
the boots that had seemed to fit him so well when he left 
home, the coat in which even Curlewis could find no fault 
when he tried it on yesterday, failed all at once to give him the 
confidence they had hitherto inspired. Of course he blundered 
in headlong. Of course he offered but a distant greeting to the 
person he cared for most, but accosted her friend and chaperon 

The Cup Day. aoj 

with extraordinary cordiality and affection. I suppose women 
understand these things, but it has always puzzled me how a 
real attachment can be brought to a happy conclusion, because a 
man never appears to such disadvantage as in the presence of 
the woman he loves. 

Dolly, however, was safe enough with Mrs. Vandeleur, They 
were fast friends. Such friends as man and woman only become 
when there can be no question of love-making between them. 
Where the heart is touched, there is always a certain element of 
strife. He was the only gentleman in the box. She tried her 
best to put him at his ease, and made a place for him by 
Miss Tregunter, who looked quite captivating in a pale pink 
dress, like a half-blown hawthorn. 

"I see you stick to your colours," said Dolly nervously, and 
showing his own more than was becoming, in his round cheeks. 
" I remember you wore pink the first time I ever met you." 

"And you thought it pretty," answered Miss Tregunter, 
with a bright smile, hurrying thereafter, as ladies will, to a 
safer subject. " Can't you mark the winners for me, Mr. Egre- 
mont ? Can't you tell me what I ought to back for the Cup ?" 

"It's not much in my line," answered Dolly, wishing for the 
moment he had sunk his whole patrimony in a string of race- 
horses; "but there's a man who can put you on a good thing," 
pointing to Cotherstone, who had shut his book, and was labour- 
ing through the mass of ladies on the lawn. "May I beckon 
him up here ? " he asked Mrs. Vandeleur. 

" Lord Cotherstone ? " replied Norah. " Of course you may. 
He's a great friend of mine, though we never meet but twice a 
year. Does he see you ? How lame he walks. We'll give him 
some luncheon. Here he is." 

While she spoke the racing veteran tapped at the box-door, 
to be received with the empressement due to such an oracle, 
from whose lips every word tha f fell was worth at least a dozen 
pair of gloves. 

" Hyacinth ! " he exclaimed, in accents hoarse with the shout- 
ing of many meetings, to answer a timid suggestion from Miss 
Tregunter. " Don't you believe it. Don't you back him, 
Mrs. Vandeleur. Let him alone, both of you. Yes, he's a 
good-look ; r-g one enough, and he's a smart horse for a mile; 
but he's no use here. He'll never get up the hill in a week. 
No back ribs, and not very game when he's collared. I don't 
often give an opinion, but I bred him, you know, and I've got 
his form to a pound." 

*o6 The While Rose. 

Miss Tregunter looked disappointed. Was it that she had 
•.aken a fancy to Hyacinth's beautiful shape, or because Dandy 
Burton, who always made up to her, with or without encourage- 
ment, now stepped into their box ? or could she have disap- 
proved of Dolly's conduct in taking advantage of the stir thus 
created, to whisper something for Mrs. Vandeleur's exclusive 
information ? Something that made Norah turn deadly pale, 
and crumple to shreds the race-card in her hand. 

It was a short sentence, and had Miss Tregunter heard it dis- 
tinctly, would have interested her, I believe, but little. 

Turning his back on the others, Dolly whispered, in low, 
hurried syllables, " I have seen Gerard Ainslie. He is in London 
— very poor. You shall have his address this evening." Then, 
true to his kindly instincts, honest Dolly, sorely against his 
inclination, quitted the box, leaving Dandy Burton literally "a 
fair field and no favour" with the heiress. That gentleman 
was called Dandy Burton still, and doubtless deserved the title 
honestly enough. He had left the Life Guards for some time, 
having found, indeed, that service far less to his taste than he 
imagined before he joined. Truth to tell, the Dandy was not 
quite a "good enough fellow" for the Household Brigade, with 
whom no amount of coxcombry will go down unless it conceals 
frank manliness of character beneath its harmless affectations. 
When Burton first made acquaintance with his new comrades, 
these did all in their power to train him into what soldiers call 
" the right sort of cornet." They quizzed his boots, they crabbed 
his riding, they corked his eyebrows, and they made hay in his 
room ! But it was all to no purpose ; and though they neither 
quarrelled with nor rendered him uncomfortable, everybody was 
satisfied he would not stop long. So after a year or two he sold 
out, to make way for a merry blue-eyed boy, fresh from Eton, 
who could do "thimble-rig," "prick the garter," "bones" with 
his face blacked, and various other accomplishments ; who feared 
nothing, respected nobody on earth, besides the colonel, but his 
own corporal-major, and suited the corps, as he himself expressed 
it, "down to the ground." 

Burton s present profession, however, as the dandy " pure and 
simple," going about London, was far more to his taste than the 
military duties of Knightsbridge and Windsor. Not another of 
the "trade " was more beautifully dressed and turned out that 
day upon the course, and nobody could have been more satisfied 
of his correct appearance than himself. 

"Unwisely weaves that takes two webbes in hand," says 

The Cup Day. 407 

Spenser; but Burton, disregarding such wholesome advice, no 
sooner found himself in Mrs. Vandeleur's box, with old Cother- 
stone and the two ladies, than he proceeded to play the double 
game in which he believed himself a proficient. His admiration, 
and whatever little sentiment he could muster, were doubtless 
given to Mrs. Vandeleur. But he had a great idea of mar-ying 
the heiress. So, with an audacity that could only arise from utter 
ignorance of feminine nature, he began to " make running " 
with two women at the same time, who were fast friends, and 
neither of whom cared the least bit for him in her heart. 

He tried Miss Tregunter first ; but the young lady's eyes 
" were with her heart, and that was far away." They were 
following Dolly's broad form as it traversed the course, which 
was even now being cleared for the great race, and she vouch- 
safed not a single look to the Dandy. Then he engaged Mrs. 
Vandeleur, still exchanging last words with Lord Cotherstone, 
whose hand was on the door, and here he was less unfortunate. 
She turned more graciously towards him than usual. 

" Will you do me a favour, Mr. Burton ? " asked this White 
Witch, in her most seductive accents. 

"What is there I would not do for you? " naturally answered 
the Dandy, modulating his voice, however, so that Miss Tre- 
gunter should not hear. 

" Thanks," replied Norah, with a bright smile. "Run down, 
please, amongst those noisy ' ring ' people, and bet two hundred 
pounds for me against Hyacinth. Lord Cotherstone says it is 
' two to one.' That means I shall win a hundred pounds, 
don't it ? " 

" Certainly," answered Burton, " if it comes off. I'll book 
it for you in five minutes." 

■■•- And — and — Mr. Burton," added the lady, with the colour 
rising to her cheek and the light to her eyes, " Lord Cotherstone 
is a very good judge, isn't he ? Will you do it twice over ? I'm 
sure Hyacinth can't win." 

So Burton walked solemnly down into the betting-ring, and 
laid four hundred to two against the favourite, while Mrs. Van- 
deleur, leaning back in her chair, shut her eyes for forty blissful 
seconds, thinking how by this time to-morrow Gerard Ainslie 
would have received a couple of hundred through a safe hand, 
anonymously, " from a friend." 

Men are apt enough to be over-sanguine ; but the amount of 
chickens counted by women, even before 'he eggs are laid, defies 

208 The White Rose. 

People dropped in and went out, but Norah heeded them very 
little, for the horses had already taken their canters, and were 
marshalled for the start. A pang of misgiving shot through her 
when Hyacinth went sweeping down, blooming like a rainbow 
and elastic as an eel. 

"Why, he's as beautiful as the flower they call him by! " said 
Miss Tregunter. 

"Nevermind," answered Norah ; " Lord Cotherstone must 
know, and it's sure to be all right ! " 

I will not take upon me to describe this or any other race for 
the Ascot Cup, inasmuch as the crowd has hitherto prevented 
my seeing any part of these contests but the last fifty yards. In 
the present instance the struggle at the hill was exceedingly 
severe ; horses were changing their legs, while whip and spui 
were going a quarter of a mile from home. Hyacinth, how- 
ever, who had been lying back till the distance, came out directly 
his jockey called on him, and won with apparent ease amidst 
shouts that might have been heard at Hyde Park Corner. 

The ring were hit very hard, and Mrs. Vandeleur lost four 
hundred pounds ! Burton, making his way back to her box, 
stumbled against Lord Cotherstone. The latter, of course, de- 
fended his own judgment in defiance of the event. "I told 
you the Porpoise wasn't fit," said he. "If they could have 
galloped Porpoise yesterday, Lifeboat would have made the 
running for him, and Hyacinth must have come in a bad 

The next person Dandy met was his old fellow-pupil ; but 
Dolly seemed too pre-occnpied to answer the question put in a 
whisper by his friend, " What was it you said to her in the box 
that made Mrs. Vandeleur turn so pale? " 



Alas ! that the misery of those pinches, proverbially unsuspected 
save by the wearer, should be confined to no particular style of 
di aussure, but prove as insupportable under satin sandal as water- 
proof boot. I doubt if Cinderella herself was thoroughly com- 
fortable in her glass-slippers, and have always been persuaded 
that she kicked one of them off while leaving the ball-room, 

Tight Shoes. 209 

partly in excusable coquetry, and partly because it was too tight! 
With handsome Mrs. Vandeleur too, the White Rose of my 
story, the metaphorical shoe pinched very clesely during the 
height of the London season in which Hyacinth earned his im- 
mortality as a racehorse by winning the Ascot Cup. It was fi 
shoe, moreover, possessing the peculiar property of misfitting 
chiefly on Monday mornings, at monthly intervals, when she 
paid her household accounts, looked into her expenditure, and 
found that even her liberal fortune was insufficient to make 
both ends meet. This inconvenience might be accounted for in 
many ways. The prettiest house in London is not likely to be 
hired at a low rent ; good taste in furniture cannot be indulged 
without lavish expenditure ; if people insist on giving charming 
Jittle dinners of eight two or three times a week, cooks' wages 
and wine-merchants' accounts soon run into units, tens, hundreds, 
not to mention " bills delivered " by poulterers, pickle-makers, 
and purveyors of good things " round the corner j " high-step- 
ping horses are seldom attainable under three figures, and Mr. 
Barker, as indeed his name would seem to imply, opens his 
mouth rather wide when he builds, repairs, paints, varnishes, or 
otherwise refits the carriages he turns out so effectually. Add 
to these luxuries of life such necessaries as bonnets, ball-dresses, 
bracelets, and other jewellery to wear or give away ; take boxes 
at the Opera, and join water-parties at Richmond whenever the 
whim seizes yourself or friends j be careful to abstain from 
nothing that charms the fancy or pleases the eye } never pay 
your bills till the end of the second year, and I will take upon 
me to predict you will soon find the shoe so tight, that the diffi- 
culty is how to get it off at all. 

What a pretty little shoe it was with which Mrs. Vandeleur 
kicked away the footstool under her writing-table, ere she rose to 
refresh herself with a look in the glass, after poring over her 
accounts ! What a beautiful face she saw there, pale indeed, and 
with its hair pushed far back after an hour's bewildering study, 
but lit up by a smile that it had not shown for years, that re- 
minded even herself of the Norah Welby winding silks oil the 
lawn at Marston, under the summer lime-trees, long ago ! 

" It's a bore too ! " she murmured, "and what I hate is being 
mixed up in money matters with a man. But I can always 
manage somehow, and then, poor fellow ! I like to think I 
have made him tolerably comfortable. How he must wonder ! 
and it's too nice of dear fat Dolly to manage it all so cleverly. 
Gracious! that reminds me, the fancy-ball is to-morrow, and 

no The White Rose. 

I've never written to Jane ! " So she sprang back to her table, 
bundled the pile of accounts into a drawer, where it would take 
at least an hour's work to arrange them for inspection on some 
future occasion, and spreading a sheet of note-paper, smooth, 
sweet-scented, and crested with a monogram like a centipede, 
scrawled off the following effusion : — " I am in despair, darling, 
about missing you — I waited at home all the morning, and 
begin to fear now some bother has prevented your getting 
away. I have heaps of business to talk over, but long to see 
you besides on your own account, that you may tell me all 
about yourself — we shall meet to-morrow, so nobody must find 
out you came here so lately — the disguise is perfect ! and lam 
sure will answer our purpose. Are we not dreadfully deceitful ? 
but when people pry, and gossip, and try to sound one's ser- 
vants, it seems all fair. Don't answer, please ! it might create 
suspicion. — Ever your loving Norah Vandeleur." While she 
signed her name, Miss Tregunter and luncheon were announced 
simultaneously. Mrs. Vandeleur, pushing the note hastily aside, 
ran out to meet her friend on the stairs, and turn her back for 
that meal, which is, with ladies, the most important in the day. 

So down they sat in the pretty dining-room, to demolish roast 
chicken and light claret, while they talked volubly of their own 
doings and their friends, with as little reserve as if Robert 
Smart, and his confederate, faultlessly powdered, were a couple 
of mutes ; or the portly butler, who condescended to pour them 
out their wine (wondering the while how they could drink such 
thin stuff), was ignorant of all social scandal, and averse to dis- 
seminating it, betraying thereby but a superficial acquaintance 
with the character of that domestic. Presently, Jane Tregunter, 
eating jelly with grapes stuck in it, and wearying perhaps of others' 
love affairs, began gradually to work round in the direction of 
her own. "You'll go, dear," said this young lady affectionately, 
"you promised, and I know vou are to be trusted. I shouldn't 

like to be disappointed, I own. You see I I've never been 

at a fancy ball."' 

" I was writing to you about it when you arrived," answered 
Norah : " now 1 may tear my letter up, for it don't matter. 
Disappoint you, dear! Why should you think I would? I've 
done everything about the dresses — I'm certain nobody will 
know us. You've no idea what a difference powder makes, and 
it's so becoming ! I shall be very much surprised, Jane ; if 
somebody don't collapse altogether. I think to-morrow will bo 
an eventful evening." 

Tight Shoes. 1 1 1 

"Patches, and a pink satin petticoat," mused Miss Tregunter, 
"it does sound very pretty, Norah : but nobody will look at 
me," she added, honestly enough, " if we're both dressed alike." 

"That is your modesty!" answered Mrs. Vendeleur heartily. 
" I'm an old woman you know, now, and my staunchest ad- 
mirers are getting tired of me. Even Mr. Egremont has 
deserted my standard this season. Don't you think so, Jane ? " 

Jane blushed, and looked pleased. Perhaps it was not exclu- 
sively love for her hostess that made her so happy in Mrs. Van- 
deleur's house. The latter was an old and sincere friend of 
Dolly's — no rival, though sometimes feared as such for an instant 
at a time, and a capital go-between. Miss Tregunter swallowed 
her jelly, wiped her mouth, and walked round the table to give 
f he White Rose a kiss, an operation witnessed by Robert, who 
entered at that moment to change her plate, without eliciting 
the slightest token of surprise. 

"You re very good to me, Norah," said she affectionately, 
"and I think you guess something. I'm not sure whether your 
guess is right, but I don't mind telling you I should not be 
angry if it was — what makes you think, dear, that somebody, — 
well — that Mr. Egremont will be at the fancy ball ? " 

"Because I'm not blind, my dear," answered Mrs. Vandeleur; 
" no more is he — I think he is quite right, and I think you will 
be quite wrong if you snub him. Depend upon it he's worth a 
dozen of the other one !" 

Miss Tregunter looked puzzled. "What other one?" she 
asked; "do you mean Mr. Burton, Norah? don't you like 
Mr. Burton?" 

On the tip of Mrs. Vandeleur's tongue was a frank disclaimer, 
but she remembered, with a twinge of dissatisfaction, how thi3 
gentleman had of late been concerned in several money matters 
on her account — how he had made bets for her at Tattersall's, 
gambled for her in railway shares, and speculated with her 
money or his own, she was not quite sure which, in one or two 
unremunerative ventures east of Temple Bar; also, how they 
met continually in public, while he called at her house nearly 
every day, so she could not consistently give vent to the 
truth, which was that she wished him at the bottom of the 

" Like him, dear? " she repeated with a hesitation so foreiga 
to her usual frank outspoken manner as to puzzle Miss Tre- 
gunter more and more; "Well, I like him, and I don't like 
him. I think he's very disagreeable sometimes, but then you 

if a The White Rose. 

know he's such an old acquaintance — I've known him so long, 
and he's exceedingly obliging — altogether " 

"Norah, dear/' interrupted her friend, with unusual energy s 
" you won't be affronted at what I'm going to say. I've often 
wanted to speak about it, but I never had courage. Take my 
advice, and keep clear of Mr. Burton. I don't know the world 
so well as you do, but I know him. He makes up to me, dear, 
awfully ! and I hate him for it ! It's only because I've some 
money. I'll tell you how I found that out some day. So 
different from the other. Norah, dear, don't be angry ! People 
are beginning to talk about you and him. Aunt Margaret told 
Theresa you were in love with him, and even dear old Lady 
Baker made her repeat the whole story, and said she knew there 
was some truth in it, for he was never out of the house. I was 
so angry I could have thumped, them, Theresa and all ! I 
thought I'd tell you, and if you're offended I shall cry for a 
week — there! And if he knew it, I do believe he'd poison me 
in a strawberry-ice to-morrow evening ; there's no crime that 
man would stick at, if he was sure of not being found out. 
Hush ! talk of the — Dandy ! Now I'll run away, dear — you re 
not angry, I see — good-bye, darling, and take care of yourself." 

So Miss Tregunter made her escape from the ground-floor, 
while Mrs. Vandeleur went up-stairs, to confront the gentle- 
man of whom her friend held so unflattering an opinion, in the 
drawing-room, to which apartment he had been shown by 
Mr. Smart, ere that well-drilled servant announced his arrival 
to the ladies below. For the first time in her life Norah met 
her visitor with some little feeling of vexation and constraint. 
Hitherto she had considered him a moderately pleasant but 
decidedly useful acquaintance, had ignored his selfishness, smiled 
at his vanity, and tolerated him contentedly enough j but to- 
day, something in her woman s nature rose in fierce rebellion 
against the assumption of intimacy, the affectation of more than 
friendly interest she was conscious he displayed. Every woman, 
I believe, likes to be made love to, until her heart is engaged 
elsewheie, and then, with a fine sense of justice, she turns round 
and resents as an insult the admiration hitherto graciously ac- 
cepted as a tribute to her sovereignty. It is but fair, however, 
to say that Norah had never yet detected in Mr. Burton's manner 
anything warmer than the cordiality of long-established friend- 
ship. It was Jane Tregunter's appeal that to-day, for the first 
time, put the possibility of his presumption into her head, and 
she felt she disliked him extremely, although he had saved her 

Tight Shoes. 61$ 

so much trouble in business matters, nay, even although he had 
been educated by the same private tutor as Gerard Ainslie ! 

He came quickly across the room when she entered, masking, 
as it seemed, some confusion under a gayer manner than usual. 
" How well you look ! " he exclaimed, taking her hand with a 
good deal of empressement. " You grow more beautiful every 
day. I came to talk business, and you put it all out of my 

She liked him none the better for the vapid compliment. It 
had not the ring of the true metal, and perhaps she would have 
valued it no more had it been sterling gold. Sitting down a 
long way off, she answered icily enough — 

" If you come on business, let us get it over at once, for my 
carriage is ordered in ten minutes. If you want to talk non- 
sense," she added, thinking she was rather severe, "you are 
too late — Miss Tregunter is just gone, and it's thrown away 
upon me." 

" Miss Tregunter !" replied the Dandy, in a tone of assumed 
disgust ; " who would ever think of Miss Tregunter in com- 
parison with you?" but observing a peculiar expression of scorn 
about Norah's eyebrows, he added judiciously, " My business 
will soon be over, and you can go for your drive. Here are 
the bills ; you can look through them at your leisure. I am 
afraid, as a matter of form, I must ask you for a receipt." 

She crossed to the writing-table. "How very odd!" said 
she, rummaging over its littered surface, " I'm certain I left it 
here. What can have become of it ? Never mind. It isn't 
wanted after all, for Jane has been — there's the receipt, Mr. 
Burton. Is it dated right ? I haven't half thanked you for 
your trouble; and now tell me when do you think this money 
will have to be paid ? " 

He had turned away nervously while she was at the writing- 
table, but he forced himself to look her straight in the face. 
"When ? " he repeated. "Why, after Goodwood — we shall win 
a hatful of money on the Stakes, and I've let the Cup alone, 
because I don't see my way. You've no idea what an interest 
I feel in the thing, now that I have a real inducement to 

She felt she was in a false position, and she hated it. She 
knew she was deeply involved, and that it would take more 
than a year's income to free herself from her obligations to 
Dandy Burton. It was provoking, irritating beyond measure, 
but not humiliating, because she had sacrificed her impendence 

a 14. The White Rose. 

for his comfort, whom she must never see again, but whom she 
still so dearly loved. " And if I lose at Goodwood," said she, 
pondering, " these people won't wait ? " 

" They must ! they shall ! " answered the Dandy, vehemently j 
"don't be anxious — don't distress yourself, dear Mrs. Vandeleur, 
trust to me j there is nothing in the world I wouldn't do for 

She thanked him coldly enough. It was getting worse and 
worse, she thought. Her servant came in to say the carriage 
was at the door, and in common decency her visitor could stay 
no longer, but he bowed over her hand, when she wished him 
good-bye, till his lips almost touched it, and Norah's sensitive 
perceptions detected in his manner a bold confidence, an assured 
air of success, that angered her to the core. Running up-stairs 
to put on her bonnet, she struck her clenched hand hard against 
the banisters, a display of temper very unusual, and denoting that 
she was deeply moved. She gave a little sigh. of relief, though, 
when the street-door closed, and proceeded calmly enough to 
make her afternoon toilette. 

Burton emerging on the pavement, took a paper from his 
pocket, and after reading it with rather a strange smile, bestowed 
it carefully in his note-case. This paper had no address, but 
was written in Norah Vandeleur's bold and somewhat straggling 



It was getting late in the afternoon, and high time for the 
Park, if he meant to go there at all ; so Mr. Burton straightened 
his waist, looked admiringly at his boots, and proceeded into 
the Park by way of Albert Gate, with that air of supreme in- 
difference, and imperturbable equanimity affected by his order 
towards sundown. No wonder a frank jovial manner is so 
highly appreciated in London ; no wonder the free, kindly, 
energetic character called a "cheery fellow" should be so 
popular. Refreshing as it is rare, his pleasant greeting puts 
you in good humour with yourself, with him, with things in 
general, with the score of friends in particular, whom you had 
almost voted a minute ago the twenty greatest bores in the 
world ! 

But the Dandy's "form," as Lord Cotherstone would have 

Nun Ciilvis. 21$ 

said, was hardly good enough to admit of his being perfectly 
natural ; it was his custom therefore to intrench himself in an 
impenetrable and rather contemptuous reserve, which imposed 
on the public and answered its purpose remarkably well. 
Mediocrity, you see, if you will only be proud of it, cultivating 
it assiduously like any other advantage, possesses a certain inert 
force of its own. Everybody knows people accept you for what 
you say you are worth, and if you never attempt to succeed, 
of course you need never fail. It is so easy then, and so agree, 
able, sitting far back amongst the equestrian benches, to criticize 
the gladiators in the arena below, depreciating this one's courage, 
and that one's bearing, and the wretched fighting of a third, 
inferring, by implication, how much better you could do it all 
yourself, were it but worth while to try. Something of this 
principle had carried Burton hitherto successfully enough through 
the world in which he moved. Walking up the Ride now, 
well-dressed, well-looking, well-mannered, he obtained his full 
share of bows and smiles from thorough-bred women sweeping 
by on thorough-bred horses — of familiar nods, and " how-d'ye 
do's" from lords, guardsmen, light-dragoons, and dandies of 
various calibres ; but none of the ladies looked back at him after 
they had passed ; none of the men hooked him familiarly by 
the arm, and turned him round to walk him fifty yards in the 
direction they were themselves going, for the mere pleasure of 
his society. 

He saw Lady Featherbrain's bay horse stand with its head 
over the rails, at least a quarter of an hour, while its beautiful 
rider argued and gesticulated and talked with eyes, hands, 
shoulders, and chignon, at a dried-up, wizened, sunburned man, 
leaning on an umbrella to listen imperturbably while he smoked 
a cigar. When Burton passed, he took off his hat, as in duty 
bound, and her ladyship, who couldn't, for the life of her, help 
looking at every man as if she doted on him, smiled sweetly 
in return, but that was all. What was there in Jack Thorough- 
pin, thought the Dandy, thus to monopolize the prettiest woman 
in the Ride? He was anything but good-looking 5 he was past 
forty ; he was ruined ; but he remembered hearing one or two 
strange reckless escapades of which Jack had been the hero. 
It was quite true that he jumped into a life-boat last winter, 
when none of the crew would volunteer ; and though he had 
spent two fortunes, had they not both been sacrificed at the 
shrine of an unwise, unhappy, and impossible attachment ? 
There was a vein of pure gold, no douM, underlying the crust 


il6 The White Rose. 

of worldliness round Jack Thoroughpin's heart ; and Lady 
Featherbrain was woman enough to find it out. 

So Burton walked on pondering, till a little further up the 
Hide he met young Lord Glaramara, a man with whom, for 
many reasons, it would have suited him to have been on the 
most intimate terms. Glaramara's shooting in Westmoreland, 
his stable at Melton, his drag in London, his cook, his cellar, 
his hospitality, were ail irreproachable. He was buying year- 
lings, too, and seemed keen about racing, but as yet not a 
feather had been plucked from the pigeon's wing. A more 
eligible friend could not be conceived, and it was provoking 
that he should pass the Dandy with no warmer greeting than 
a careless nod, his whole attention engrossed by the man with 
whom he was walking arm-in-arm — a fat man, with a white 
hat, a red neckcloth, no gloves, and, yes, — he could not be mis- 
taken, — a cotton umbrella ! having, moreover, as he bitterly 
reflected, no earthly merit, but that he once made a good speech 
in the House of Commons, and was the best racket-player ia 

It took more than one downward glance at his own faultless 
attire to restore the Dandy's equanimity after this last shock j 
nor was he yet in the best of tempers, when he came face to 
face with his old companion, Dolly Egremont, leaning back 
against the rail, smoking in short nervous whiffs, while he 
glanced uncomfortably from side to side, with an anxiety and 
pre-occupation quite foreign to his usual air of good-humoured 

This, you see, was Miss Tregunter's day for riding, at five 
o'clock, and Dolly was watching to see her pass. The vigil 
seemed in many respects to partake of the nature of a penance. 
People in love are sometimes very happy, I believe, but their 
normal state is, doubtless, one of considerable worry and rest- 
lessness, best described by the familiar expression, Fidget ! 

He was glad, though, to meet the Dandy. These two had 
kept up their boyish friendship, and it is due to Burton to say 
that although he would not have hesitated at sacrificing Dolly 
to his own interest, he liked him better than any of the acquaint- 
ances he had made later in life. 

Mr. Egremont seemed not only more abstracted, but graver 
than usual. " I am glad to find you here, Dandy," said he, 
removing the cigar from his mouth. "I waated to talk to 
you about an old friend of ours. We must give him a lift 
between us." 

Non Cuivis. a 17 

"I'll do all I can. Have a weed." 

Burton accepted the proffered refreshment, lit his cigar, and 

" It's about poor Jerry," continued Dolly, still glancing from 
side to side for the flutter of a certain blue habit on a chestnut 
horse, but warming to his subject nevertheless. 

"What do you think? He's turned up. He's in London. 
I've seen him. You've no idea how he's altered. Poor Jerry ! 
What a good-looking chap he used to be when we were at 
Archer's. Don't you remember Fanny What's-her-name ? — 
the girl at the mill. Well, here he is, after knocking about 
all over the world. He hasn't a shilling. We must do some- 
thing for him." 

The Dandy had listened with as little expression of interest 
as if they had been talking about the weather, smoking placidly 
the while. He roused himself now to observe languidly — 

" How ? I don't see why — what do you propose to do ? " 

"We musn't let him starve," replied Dolly indignantly. "I 
thought you and I between us might make some sort of pro- 
vision for him in the meantime, till we can get him employ- 

" As a crossing-sweeper, do you mean ? " asked Burton. " I 
don't believe I've interest even for that. Go as low as you 
Will, the supply seems greater than the demand." 

"Every door is barred with gold, and opens but to golden keys, 
Still, I don't despair. I'll think it over, if you please," 

replied Dolly musingly. " Well, you'll help him, at any rate, 
if you can." 

To promise costs nothing, so Burton readily engaged himself 
thus far, and Dolly proceeded in more hopeful tones — 

" I knew 1 could count upon his old friends. After all, 
people are much better than the world gives them credit for. 
I could tell you of one who has behaved like a trump, only I 
am n»t sure whether I ought, and perhaps she wouldn't like 
anybody to know." 

Honest Dolly, admiring it extremely, was burning to trumpet 
forth Mrs. Vandeleur's generosity to the world in general. 

"She!" answered Burton. "Ah! if it's a She have no 
scruples. Never keep faith with a woman, nor break it with 
a man. That's the fundamental principle that holds society 
together. I tell you, my dear fellow, they like being deceived. 
Hang me, if 1 don't think they like being shown up ! At 

ai8 The White Rose. 

least they always seem to do it for themselves if you're too 
cautious to do it for em. Out with it, Dolly j who's the Lady 
Bountiful ? " 

" I know you don't mean what you say, and I feel safe in 
telling you," answered Dolly, "because you are one of us. It's 
Mrs. Vandeleur, Dandy. That's the best woman in Europe!" 

"There are not many to choose from," answered Burton, in 
his most imperturbable tones, and keeping down with an effort 
the expression he feared would rise to his face, as of one who 
had just been dealt " four-by-honours " in his hand. " Let's take 
a turn amongst the carriages, Dolly. I can't see from here 
whether any of our admirers have arrived or not." So speaking, 
he linked his arm in his friend's, and the two sauntered leisurely 
across the Ride towards a double line of carriages drawn up 
under the trees. 

Dolly was nothing loth. He had watched like a patient 
deer-stalker long enough in one place, and thought it time to 
change his post. Also, he was a little angry — men always are 
when disappointed — because chance had been against him to- 
day. With the noble sense of justice and logical sagacity 
peculiar to the position, he blamed Miss Tregunter severely 
for missing him in a crowd of five hundred people, convinced 
that she could have changed her whole sentiments and forgotten 
him in the twelve hours that had elapsed since he saw her last. 

So absorbed was Mr. Egremont in such uncomfortable re- 
flections, that he was nearly ridden over by the lady of his 
affections herself, who was looking for him, truth to tell, on 
the footway, and, quick-sighted as women generally are in such 
matters, failed to detect him immediately under her horse's 
nose. He thought she did it on purpose, and turned pale with 
vexation, leaving the Park forthwith, and excusing himself to 
his friend, by pleading the necessity of dressing for an early 
dinner. Burton, on the contrary, had observed the whole per- 
formance, puffing tranquilly at his cigar the while, resolved to 
take advantage of this, as of all other chances in the game. 
Watching, therefore, the turn of the tide, he stopped Miss 
Tregunter. as she drifted back, so to speak, with the ebb, walk- 
ing her horse listlessly in the direction from which she had 
started, and wondering in her heart what had become of Dolly 

You see, though these young people had made no actual 
assignation in so many words, there had been a sort of tacit 
agreement that they should meet at this hour in this place. 

Non Cuivis. 119 

Their attachment, too, had bloomed to that degree of maturity 
at which jealousy has already been kindled, while mutual 
confidence is not yet established ; so, mistrusting each other 
considerably, they spent a good deal of time unpleasantly 
enough, attributing unworthy motives to the necessary and 
commonplace doings of daily life. 

Miss Tregunter, reining up the chestnut horse to converse 
with her professed admirer, Mr. Burton, felt sufficiently piqued 
at Dolly's fancied negligence to punish herself and him at one 
stroke ; so she affected great pleasure in thus meeting the Dandy, 
and beamed down on him from her ascendancy of fifteen hands 
and a half with a fascinating coquetry, that, like the rest of 
her sex, she could put on as easily as a double lace veil. 

The Dandy accepted all such advances with laudable equa- 
nimity. He believed them only his due ; but in the present 
instance he "meant business," as he called it, and responded 
more warmly than usual. Straightening her horse's mane with 
a caressing hand, he looked up in her face, and regretted, mourn- 
fully, that " she had dropped her old friends, and he never saw 
her now." 

"Whose fault is that?" replied the lady. "I suppose you 
don't expect me to drive down to White's and ask those stupid 
waiters if Mr. Burton is in the club. Be quiet, Tomboy!" — 
for Tomboy, whisking his well-bred tail, was kicking sharply 
at a fly behind his girths.- — " No, I'm like the fairy in the song, 
' those that would see me must search for me well.'" 

" I thought fairies were ugly old women on crutches," 
answered the Dandy. " You've not grown very ugly yet. Well, 
' qui cherche trouue,' I suppose. Shall you be in the Park to- 
morrow ?" 

"To-morrow?" repeated Miss Tregunter. "Certainly not, 
Tomorrow's Sunday. I don't believe you can count the days 
of the week. But I shall ride on Monday at twelve ; and as 
I know you can't get up till two, my movements need not 
affect you one way or the other." 

So saying, Miss Tregunter cantered off, a little ashamed of 
herself, as well she might be, and wishing, before the chestnut 
was settled in his stride, that she had not allowed pique so to 
get the better of her, as to make her disloyal, in word or 
manner, for one moment, to the man she loved. 

Burton looked after her, whistled softly, smiled, shook his 
head, put his cigar in his mouth again, and strolled on. 

" I believe that would be my best game now," he said to 

*30 The White Rosel 

himself. " She really is a catch ; there's such a lot of ready 
money. I always thought she liked Dolly best till to-day. 
But there's no accounting for their fancies, and I might win 
on the post after all ! And yet — and yet — if I could have the 
pick of the basket, and need only please myself, it's not you, 
with your red cheeks, Miss Janey, that I would choose.", 

I need hardly say the Dandy was not romantic, and a senti- 
ment, so foreign to his practical nature, died out almost as soon 
as it arose, long before he could reach the vision from which 
it took its birth. 

That vision was but the glimpse of a pale proud face in a 
light transparent bonnet, looking like a pearl of great prica 
among its surroundings, making them seem but mosaic and 
tawdry jewellery in comparison. A face such as passes before 
weary, wicked, world-worn men in their dreams, reminding 
them in its beauty of the purer, holier feelings their waking 
hours never know ; of love, and hope, and trust, of the " better 
part " they put away in wilful blindness long ago, and can never 
share again. 

It fleeted swiftly by, that winsome delicate face, in an open 
carriage with a pair of high-stepping horses, driven by a body- 
coachman, portly in girth and rubicund of aspect, well worthy 
of the name, to be drawn up in a shady spot under the elms, 
whereto the Dandy picked his way jauntily, for whether she 
encouraged him or not, it was worth while to appear before the 
world on terms of easy intimacy with handsome Mrs. Vandeleur. 

The White Rose could not be long in any one place on a 
sunny afternoon without finding herself surrounded by a swarm 
of summer-insects. Half-a-dozen of the best-dressed and best- 
looking young gentlemen in the Park were about her carriage 
when the Dandy arrived. It stung her to the quick to observe 
that they all made way for him, as if he, forsooth, had a better 
right than others to monopolize her society and engross her 
conversation; she bowed, therefore, with marked coldness, and 
turned her head to talk to a pretty boy, fresh from Eton, on 
the other side of the carriage. 

But the Dandy thought he had got more than one pull over 
her now, and determined she should feel it, so he laid his hand 
on her arm to arrest her attention j and, regardless of the angry 
gesture with which she shook it off, observed in a tone of con- 
fidential intimacy — 

"I have just heard something that concerns usj I want to 
talk it over with you, as soon as possible." 

Shining River, »a i 

She turned a very haughty face upon him while she replied— 

" More business, Mr. Burton ? I should have thought you 
and I had bored one another enough for one day. I can answer 
for myself, at least!" 

The listeners could not forbear smiling, and the late Etonian 
laughed outright. Two hours after he told his neighbour at the 
Blues' mess, how " It was a regular ' nose-ender ' for the Dandy, 
and he was glad of it !" 

Burton lost his temper at once, and his vantage-ground with it. 

" If you choose to trust me with your business-matters, Mrs. 
Vandeleur," said he, shortly, "I must talk them over with you. 
I have spent three mornings in the City on your affairs, within 
the last fortnight, so you see the trouble is not all one way." 

"Don't be afraid," she retorted scornfully, "you shall be paid 
your commission. Half-a-crown in the pound, I think, isn't 
it ? Sir Henry, will you kindly tell my coachman to go home." 

But before that thoroughly respectable servant could start his 
horses, Burton had recovered himself, and fired a parting shot. 

"Don't think I mind the trouble," said he, calling up a most 
affectionate expression of countenance, and leaning well into 
the carriage. "After all, we're partners, are we not? We 
must stand or fall together, and your interests are the same 
as mine ! " 

I am afraid Mrs. Vandeleur shed some bitter tears that even- 
ing before she went to dress for dinner. She had plenty of 
courage, the White Rose, and seldom gave way, but she longed 
for somebody to cherish and protect her now, somebody who 
would not have suffered her to be placed in such a false position, 
somebody whose voice used to be music, his glance sunshine, his 
presence safety. It was cruel, cruel to think she ought never to 
see him now ! 



Gerard had been working hard for some weeks, so the play 
was nearly ready for rehearsal. He was very sick of it too, and 
Wgan to think he owed himself a little relaxation. Money 
matters, also, were no longer so difficult a subject as formerly, 
thanks to the supplies received from an unknown source through 
Dolly Egremont. That gentleman, while professing and indeed 
displaying great interest in his former fellow-pupil, obstinately 

122 The White Rose. 

declined to furnish the slightest cue to the discovery of his 
benefactor, and Gerard, with an enforced philosophy, made up 
his mind he had better sit down contented to enjoy " the goods 
the gods provided." 

Dolly, too, had determined upon taking a day's pleasure over 
and above his ordinary allowance in the week. He was restless 
and preoccupied, therefore more prone than usual to excitement. 
A state of hot water was quite foreign to his easy-going habits, 
and made him uncomfortable ; more, it made him unhappy. 

Miss Tregunter seemed a puzzle that grew day by day more 
difficult to explain. Her honest admirer, unskilled in the ways 
of women, could not make head or tail of her behaviour. He 
remembered long ago, how pleased she used to be when they 
met, how frank and cordial was her manner, how unrestrained 
her mirth. Now she never seemed to look him straight in the face. 
She avoided him in company, and appeared actually afraid to be 
left alone with him. 

Afraid ! And he would have laid down his life for her with 
pleasure on any dooi-step in London ! So he argued that she 
was tired of him, offended with him, hated him, and in this 
hasty conclusion, showed, I think, considerable ignorance of 
those intricate channels he had undertaken to navigate. 

Now, Dolly, who apart from the influence of his lady-love- 
was an open-hearted convivial fellow enough, had given an 
entertainment some few weeks before to the members of his 
company at the Accordion — an entertainment which, beginning 
with a dinner and ending with a dance, had afforded unlimited 
satisfaction to those invited j but unfortunately some half dozen 
of the corps had been prevented from attending, by a summons 
to assist at the private theatricals of a great lady twenty miles 
from London. 

Miss Carmine, Mr. Eelgrave, with certain other dramatic 
celebrities, had thus missed their share of the manager's hospi- 
talities, and Dolly thought he could not do better than invite 
these absentees to a quiet little entertainment at Richmond, 
where they might enjoy sunshine, scenery, eating, drinking, 
smoking, boating, and flirting to their heart's content. It was 
a good opportunity, he told Gerard, for the author to become 
acquainted with some of those talented individuals who were 
to clothe the sketches of his brain in living reality, and insisted 
on his being present. 

Gerard Ainslie, after much debate in his own mind, had 
resolved to devote that particular day to another peep at Mrs, 

Shining River. 223 

Vandeleur. He hungered, poor fellow, to see her again, rn*y y 
to feel the touch of her hand, to hear the sound of her voice 
once more, and he had hardened his heart to go and call upon 
her at her own house. For this purpose he dressed himself as 
well as his now replenished wardrobe would admit, and leaving 
the Richmond question open, proceeded early in the afternoon 
to knock at her door, devoutly hoping the summons might not 
be answered by his former acquaintance, Mr> Robert Smart. 
So far, fortune favoured him ; the portly butler, who was on 
the eve of stepping round to his club, kindly informing him 
that Mrs. Vandeleur was " not at home," and adding, in the 
plenitude of his good-humour, the further statement that "she 
had gone down to Richmond, and wouldn't be back till the 

To Richmond ! He hesitated no longer. Shutting his eyes 
to its obvious improbability, he even cherished a hope that he 
might find her one of the party he was about to join. For a 
moment life looked as bright as when he was nineteen, and in 
less than an hour he had torn off half his return ticket, and was 
running like a boy up the wooden steps of Richmond station. 

At the Castle he asked for Mr. Egremont's party, and was 
ushered on to the lawn, where he found a bevy of sauntering, 
over-dressed ladies, waiting impatiently for dinner, but nothing 
like Norah s stately figure, and pale beautiful face, look where 
he would. 

His heart turned sick, this rough, gold-digging adventurer, 
like some weak girl disappointed in her silly romantic dream. 
What a sham it all looked ! Even the golden sunshine and the 
sparkling river seemed to partake of the foil and tinsel and gas- 
light of the stage. 

"We had almost given you up, Gerard," said Dolly's cheerful 
voice, as his host emerged on the lawn from one of the side- 
rooms and took him kindly by the arm. " Dinner's just ready. 
This way, Mrs. Golightly. This way, Miss White. Relgrave, 
bring up the rest of the ladies. Ainslie, will you sit by Miss 
Carmine ? Take the covers off, waiter — turtle — all right ! Shut 
that door and put the lemon on the table. Mrs. Golightly, clear, 
or thick ? Have both ! " 

Gerard, recovering his equanimity, glanced round the table 
at his new friends. Miss Carmine, sitting next to him, was 
not half so pretty as he expected, and a good deal older than 
she looked on the stage. Lydia Goddard and Jessie White 
seemed merry, sparkling girls, with more than their share of 

224 The White Rose. 

comeliness ; but Mrs. Golightly, who sat oposite, oppressed him 
from the first with sensations of astonishment and awe. Some- 
body must have told her she was like Mrs. Siddons, and hef 
dignity of manner was, in consequence, crushing. The mere 
noble, as French people call it, was obviously her part, and very 
well she played it, even while eating whitebait at a Richmond 

Actors and actresses seem the only artists who are never 
ashamed of "talking shop." They glory in their profession, 
and why should they not ? Miss Carmine, stealing a good look 
at Gerard, and approving of what she saw, soon embarked on 
the favourite subject. 

"So you're writing us a play, Mr. Ainslie," said the accom- 
plished actress, her features waking into beauty when she spoke. 
" You see we know all about it. You men can't keep a secret, 
clever as you think yourselves." 

" I'm only proud you should take an interest in it," answered 
Gerard, courteously. " I wish I could write something more 
worthy of the acting." 

Lydia Goddard looked up from a lobster rissole, and Jessie 
White desisted from her occupation of making faces at Mr 
Belgrave. There was something in the tone of his voice that 
was sweet to a woman's ear, and they acknowledged the charm, 
just as Fanny Draper had acknowledged it to her ruin and his, 
long ago. 

Even Mrs. Golightly bent her brows on him with qualified 

"It is a responsibility, young sir," said the stately lady. "I 
am gla». you acknowledge its gravity. Our time and talents are 
too precious to be wasted on the vague wanderings of incom 
petency. Said I well, mine host ? " 

"Of course you did," answered Dolly, waking up from a 
brown study, for he too felt the oppression of Mrs. Golightly. 

" Breathes there the man with soul so dead, 
That never to himself hath said, 
An actor's part becomes his bread. 

I've seen a good deal of the manuscript, and like it- I can tell 
you, ladies and gentlemen, we haven't had such a thing out for 
years. Waiter — champagne ! " 

"You've written a very effective part for me, I'm told," said 
Miss Carmine aside, looking softly at her neighbour out of he? 

Shining River. 1-2$ 

eloquent eyes. "You don't know how grateful I am to people 
who take such pains on my behalf.", 

" I should think you could carry off the weakest style of 
writing," answered Gerard gallantly, feeling nevertheless a little 
out of his element, " you need only come to the front and say 
' boh !' to him, to make a goose of the wisest of us." 

"That's" nonsense," observed Mrs. Golightly in imperial tones, 
but Miss Carmine would not hear her, and turned with a pleased 
face on the host. 

" I like the idea of Violante immensely," said she, fixing Dolly 
in his turn with a charming smile, "it's exactly my style, you 
know; I quite long to begin studying it." 

The manager fidgeted uneasily in his chair. He was in trouble 
already about this confounded drama, which he had accepted, 
after all, only to do Gerard a kindness. If the American actress 
came over, of course she would insist on playing Violante ; then 
Miss Carmine would take huff, and there was sure to be a row ! 
"It's not all beer and skittles managing a theatre," thought 
Dolly, but he held up his glass to be filled, and looked as pleasant 
as he could. 

"You've got some nice words for poor me, haven't you, 
Mr. Ainslie?" said Jessie White, imploringly and coquettishly 
too, from the other end of the table. 

"And I'm to be a page, in blue and white and spangles! " 
added Miss Goddard, clapping her hands with innocent glee, 
like a child of five-and-twenty, as she was. " Belgrave has been 
telling me all about it. Mind you give me plenty of business, 
there's a good fellow, and as close to the foot-lights as you 
can ! " 

"I've done my very best for both of you," answered Gerard, 
bowing over the glass in his hand, " and I can alter your parts 
till they fit you like your dresses," he added, congratulating him- 
self that he had not written a word for either of them, the while. 

" Isn't he a duck ? " whispered Jessie White to Miss Goddard ; 
and " Ain't you a goose ? " answered the practical Lydia. " Why, 
Jessie, you little idiot, he's old enough to be your father! " 

Mrs. Golightly cleared her voice portentously. 

" I have yet to learn," said she, glaring at the hapless author, 
"how far Mr. Ainslie has sacrificed the interests of art to the 
paltry exigencies of our modern school ; to what extent the dia- 
logue, the situations, the characters, and the plot tend to develop 
our object in the abstract idea of tragedy. What, sir, do you 
conceive is our object in t he abstract idea of tragedy ? " 

226 The lf / hite Rose. 

This was a poser for Gerard. Fortunately Mr. Barriagtou 
Belgrave came to his rescue. 

" There isn't a morsel of bad business in the whole of it," said 
he, dogmatically j " every one of us from first to last has enough 
to do and to spare. No claret, thank you, Mr. Egremont, — 
coffee ? — if you please. Mrs. Golightly and ladies, may I ask 
your keyind permission to indulge in a cigar?" 

As soon as smoking began, it was but natural that the little 
party should adjourn to the lawn, and break itself up into small 
knots of two and three. Jessie White and Lydia Goddard, aftet 
an ineffectual pounce at the author, contented themselves with 
Mr Belgrave and a grave man, hitherto very silent, who was 
great in low comedy. Mrs. Golightly secured the manager, and 
Gerard Ainslie, as being in a certain sense the lion of the party, 
fell to the lot of Kate Carmine. 

She seemed pleased with the arrangement, conversing volubly 
and pleasantly enough, while they walked round and round the 
gravel-walk j her companion puffing thoughtfully at his cigar, 
and thinking how fragrant was the scent of the June roses, how 
fair the tinted glories of the evening sky — how calm and tran- 
quil the broad river, glowing in a crimson flush of sunset ; how 
full of tender memories, and vanished hopes, and longings for 
the impossible, that parting hour, which may well be called 
" the sweet of the summer's day !" 

What a world it might have been ! And here he was, after a 
noisy dinner, talking London scandal with an actress ! 

She seemed to know everybody, and all about everything that 
was going on. She was amusing too, and related with consider- 
able fun the last scrape into which Lady Featherbrain had 
inadvertently fallen, the domestic difference between the Ring- 
doves, and Mrs. Ringdove's unanswerable reasons for insisting 
on a separation, the late bill-discounting business brought to a 
climax by Hyacinth s winning the Ascot Cup, with the names 
of half-a-dozen noblemen and gentlemen, extremely pleasant 
people, and particular friends of her own, who were likely to 
disappear in consequence. 

A light breeze sighed through the elms on the other side of 
tbe river. Miss Carmine was seized with a romantic desire to 
make a little expedition on the water. 

" Mr Ainslie," she said, in her most winning accents, " don't 
let us waste such a heavenly evening ; the train is not till ten. 
Why shouldn't you pull — I mean scull — me about a little before 
we go back to LondoD ? " 

Shining River. 227 

" Willingly," answered Gerard, ready to go up in a balloon, or 
do anything anybody proposed, now that he had finished his 
cigar. " Down these steps, Miss Carmine. Take care of your 
dress in the mud — one foot on the thwarts — sit in the middle — 
hat s it ! Never mind the rudder ; we don't want it, nor the 
waterman. Hand us that right-hand scull. That's a smart 
chap ! Now shove off! " 

Thus, by an energetic push from a one-eyed boatman, the 
light skiff, with an end of Miss Carmine's scarf trailing over 
the side, was fairly launched on the bosom of the Thames. 

"Am I quite safe?" smiled the actress, and it was marvellous 
how much of beauty she could call at will into her smile. " Can 
I trust myself with you, Mr. Ainslie, or shall we both come to 
grief? " 

He answered with pardonable vanity, and perhaps more lite- 
rally than she expected — 

" I have pulled a whale-boat in the Pacific and paddled a canoe 
on Lake Huron. You needn't fear an upset, Miss Carmine. I 
could swim with you, I believe, from here to London Bridge if 
the tide served ! " 

" What a life yours must have been ! ' said the lady, appear- 
ing deeply interested ; " so exciting, so romantic ! I am so fond 
of adventurers and adventures ! I wish you would tell me all 

"What, from the beginning?" answered Gerard, sculling 
lustily against stream. " You are prepared, then, to stay out 
all night ? I've had a good many years of it. I'm an old man 

"Old!" expostulated Miss Carmine. "Why, you're barely 
thirty " — reflecting that she herself was a good bit past that age. 
" No, just give me a rough sketch of your life. It amuses, it 
instructs me ! When did you go abroad ? What made you leave 
England ? Was it — was it — disappointment ? " 

She looked down after she spoke, and watched the ripple 0/ 
the boat through the water. It was very prettily done — ver? 
prettily indeed. What Gerard might have replied we shall never 
learn, for a hoarse voice at the very nose of his boat shouted, not 
uncivilly, to know " where he was a-comin' to ? " And a scull, 
shifted as quickly as his own, allowed another skiff to glide past 
them down-stream, with about eighteen inches interval. In that 
boat, pulled by an ancient mariner of Teddington, sat a lady 
and gentleman. The pale face of the former flashed upon 
Gerard Aiaalie's eyes like a vision, for it was none other than 

ia8 The White Rose. 

Mis. Vandeleur! Not altered — no, except that it seemed to 
him more beautiful than ever — not altered by a single line from 
the NDrah Welby of Marston, from the ideal of womanly per- 
fection and purity and grace that he had carried in his heart 
through all those years of toil, danger, sorrow, and privation. 
He had hoped to see her to-day — but not like this. 

Had she recognised him ? He could not tell. The boat sped 
so fast down-stream under the waterman's long, powerful strokes, 
and the twilight was already darkening into night. Nor had he 
identified her cavalier, who was stooping at the moment to 
arrange a cloak or cushion at her feet. The whole thing was 
so instantaneous that but for his companion's remark he might 
have been persuaded fancy had played him false. 

"That's a case, ± imagine," said Miss Carmine, not observing 
her oarsman's discomposure, or attributing it, perhaps, to the 
violent exercise. " They call her a beauty, too, still ; but what 
they can see in her I can't for the life of me make out. She's 
much too tall, looks horrid disdainful, and as pale as a ghost." 

" She? who ? " asked Gerard, slackening his efforts, and pre- 
paring to put the boat about for a return. 

"Why, Mrs. Vandeleur," answered his companion; " I 
thought you knew her by the way she stared. She'll know us 
again, at any rate." 

"And the gentleman?" asked Gerard in a choking voice, 
backing water vigorously with one scull the while. 

"Oh! that was Burton," answered Miss Carmine; "Dandy 
Burton, they call him. I suppose they'll get married, those 
two; and I'm sure it's time they did. They've been talked 
about long enough." 

It was indeed no other than Gerard's old fellow-pupil whom 
he thus met so unexpectedly with his unforgotten love. The 
White Rose had been persuaded to join Lady Billesdon's water- 
party that day at Richmond, and they had all gone up the river 
in different four-oars, skiffs, and wherries, to visit the roaring 
cataract at Teddington Lock. Here, however, two young ladies, 
protesting they were "bad sailors," insisted on returning by 
road; and the consequent change of arrangements compelled 
Mrs. Vandeleur, unless she wished to appear both rude and 
ridiculous, to make the homeward voyage with Mr. Burton. 
The two felt the calm of the summer evening, the influence of 
the quiet lovely scene. Her silence and abstraction did not 
escape the Dandy's notice, who flattered himself he had at last 
succeeded in making an impression, which he was careful not 

A kefusat 229 

to disturb by loquacity or interruption. Neither of them, there- 
fore, volunteered a remark on the boat they had so nearly run 
down, and they hardly exchanged a syllable till they reached the 
place of disembarkation, when they observed simultaneously 
that " it was a beautiful evening ; they had spent a pleasant day; 
it was high time to order the carriages} " and so parted for the 

Gerard, too, pulled his freight back to Richmond, sad and 
silent, as the " wordless man '' who brought, the Dead Lily of 
Astolat to the lordly towers of Arthur's royal palace. Miss 
Carmine could not make him out ; but recollecting her own 
undoubted charms of person, manner, and conversation, account- 
ed for his insensibility to all three by a fit of indigestion, the 
result of rowing too soon after dinner. 



"Dreams always go by contraries," yawned Miss Tregunter, 
waking from her morning slumber for the accustomed cup of 
tea to fortify her against the toil of dressing. " How I wish 
they didn't !" added this young lady, recalling with some diffi- 
culty the vision in which she had been steeped scarce five 
minutes ago. 

She dreamt she was at a fancy ball in the character of Belinda, 
with high-heeled shoes, farthingale, patches, and an enormous 
superstructure of hair-pins, hair-rolls, hair-powder, and pomatum. 
She knew she was looking her best, and was engaged to dance 
her first minuet with the Archbishop of Canterbury. It seemed 
the most natural thing in the world that this prelate, on coming 
to make his bow, should be dressed as an Indian brave — scalps, 
mocassins, war-paint, wampum, beads, and blanket, all complete ; 
that, without resigning church preferment, or losing primitive 
freedom, he should carry her off, then and there, to his lodge in 
Kensington Gardens, where he bade her sit on a camp-stool and 
skin a dead buffalo, while he stepped down to Albert Gate for 
a look in at Tattersall's; that, having no instruments but a pair 
of nail-scissors, she made a horrid mess of the buffalo, but skinned 
him at last, to find Dolly Egremont concealed beneath his hide; 
that Dolly then explained at great length his views on savage 
life in general, wound up by a declaration that he couldn't live 

»3° The IVhtte Rose. 

another (Jay without her, and while he pressed her for an answt: 
to a very important question, raised her hand and was in the act 
of laying it to his lips, when — how provoking ! — her maid came 
in with the tea, and she awoke. 

What puppets we are ! Even dreams affect us more than we 
would like to admit. Miss Tregunter thought of a good many 
things while she was dressing, on which she had never pondered 
so deeply before. 

In the first place, she allowed herself to wonder, seriously, 
why she had seen so little of Mr. Egremont during the last few 
days, whether he had merely grown careless about her, or whether 
she could in any way have offended him. If so, whether such 
display of ill-humour was not the best possible sign, as denoting 
keen interest in herself? It was odd that she never suspected 
him of jealousy. Perhaps she felt so unconscious of having 
given him cause. Not for a moment did it occur to her that 
she had been more than commonly civil to Dandy Burton, and 
little did she imagine the hopes and schemes of which she was 
the object in that gentleman's designing brain. Miss Tregunter 
was a simple-minded person enough, and hardly aware of her 
own advantages as a pleasant comely young woman, possessed 
of money in the funds. Although in truth one of the best 
" catches ' ' of her year, she would have laughed in anybody's 
face who told her so ; cherishing, indeed, with sufficient ob- 
stinacy, the remantic notions of a milk-maid on all matters 
connected with love and matrimony. If ever she was married, 
she had vowed at fifteen, it should be for herself, not reflecting, 
for young ladies are but shallow philosophers, how much of that 
very self consists in externals. Take away education, refine- 
ment, social position, all such advantages of Fortune's caprice, 
and, to use a hackneyed metaphor, you leave but the gem, un- 
cut, unpolished, and without its setting — the intrinsic value is, 
perhaps, nearly the same j but instead of wearing it abroad you 
probably hide it carefully away, and leave it at home. 

Miss Tregunter was a gem no doubt in her way, but ever 
since she could remember, she had been brightened and worked 
np by the best jewellers. Deprived of both parents in child- 
hood, she had been educated by an aunt, a Mrs. Maurice Tre- 
gunter, related to that deaf Lady Baker, in whom I fear it 
would be impossible to excite interest. With this aunt, or 
rather aunt by marriage, not a little to the advantage of that 
relative, the young heiress lived, in the country, but a few mile* 
from Oakover, and "went out " in London. 

4 Refusal. 3,31 

The chaperon and her charge got on exceedingly well in both 
places, none the less, perhaps, that the young lady was passion- 
ately fond of riding, an exercise from which the elder was 
debarred by physical causes, the result of good living and con- 
tent. It was the girl's favourite exercise, and nowhere more so 
than :n London. She used to vow that late hours and hot 
rooms would be too much for her without the restorative of a 
fresh inspiriting canter before luncheon the following day. She 
wis not believed, because of her rosy cheeks j nevertheless, the 
horses came to the door as regularly as if her life depended on 
that remedy alone, and although she loved a ball dearly, none 
better, she often declared she would resign satin shoes willingly 
for life, rather than give up the side-saddle. 

Jane Tregunter looked well on horseback ; nobody better. 
She had a light, trim, wiry figure, especially adapted to those 
feats of skill which depend on balance. Her tapering limbs 
seemed firm and strong ; while her hands and feet, though none 
of the smallest, were extremely well-shaped. In skating and 
dancing she was no mean proficient ; could waltz " figures of 
eight" round two chairs, and do "outside edges" backwards, 
with the best performers ; but never perhaps felt so completely in 
her element as when mounted on her chestnut horse, " Tomboy," 
giving him what she called " a spin." 

Tomboy was usually in good wind — as well he might be — 
for his young mistress indulged him in these " spins," by which 
expression she understood a rousing gallop, without drawing 
bridle, from Apsley House to Kensington Gate, on eveiy avail- 
able opportunity, and as she rode four or five times a week, 
her horse was somewhat lighter in girth and fuller in muscle 
than most of the fellow-labourers that roused his emulation 
in the Park. Many an approving glance was cast afte- them by 
mounted dandies of every calibre as the pair swept by — the 
lengthy, well-bred chestnut, with his smooth elastic stride, 
harmonizing so fairly in the real " poetry of motion " with 
the neat, small-waisted figure of his rider, in its blue habit, its 
perfectly-fitting gloves, its glistening chignon, and provokingly 
saucy hat. 

Admiring glances, though, were the utmost tribute any cavalier 
was permitted to offer — Lady Baker, when she took the respon 
sibility of chaperoning Miss Tregunter in her aunt's absence, 
having made it a sine qud non that the young lady should refuse 
all escort in these rides, save that of the venerable groom, who 
followed a hundred yards behind, and whose maxims, both of 


5 3* The White Rose. 

personal comfort and stable management, were considerably 
deranged by his young mistress' s liberal notion of pace. 

It maybe that Dandy Burton was aware of this standing order 
when he resolved to march a-foot in his attack on the heiress, 
during the meeting which she had almost suggested, in the Park. 
He had been induced of late, partly in consequence of his money- 
transactions with Mrs. Vandeleur, to look into his own affairs, 
and had found, like many of his companions, that his income, 
though a good one, was quite unequal to his expenditure. Of 
course he could see but one way out of the difficulty. He must 
marry an heiress — why not Miss Tregunter ? There she was, 
an oldish young lady, still unappropriated, dividends and all ! 
She had been out a good many years now ; she must be waiting 
for somebody ; probably for himself. The iron was never likely 
to be hotter than at present ; he had better strike at once. 

Now Mr. Burton, though like most Englishmen he was a 
rider, was not a horseman. The former merely suffers himself 
to be carried; the latter both gives and receives excitement, 
spirit, and energy from the exhilarating partnership of man and 
beast. He, whose home is in the saddle, feels equal to all 
emergencies when in his favourite position ; his courage rises, 
his shyness vanishes, his self-reliance is redoubled, he feels twice 
the man, and he never looks to such advantage as on horseback ; 
but the Dandy, though he had passed through his riding-school 
drill creditably enough, entertained more confidence in his own 
powers, moral and physical, when on foot, and would have felt 
extremely loth to hazard even a declaration of love, much more 
an offer of marriage, from the back of a light-hearted quadruped, 
whose ill-timed gambols might at any moment render the most 
important of questions abortive, the most favourable of answers 

Thus reflecting, and aware, moreover, that the lady might 
refuse him permission altogether, to accompany her in a ride, 
the Dandy, dressed for walking with exceeding care, armed, 
moreover, with the thickest cigar and the thinest umbrella fabri- 
cated in London, took up his post, about half-past twelve, oppo- 
site the nearest gate of Kensington Gardens, and waited, not 
very patiently, for the arrival of Miss Tregunter. 

Considering how little he cared for her, he was rather sur- 
prised to find how nervous he was. His mouth felt dry, though 
that might be the effect of his cigar, the worst, of course, in the 
whole batch ; but why his hands should turn cold, and his face 
hot, he was «t a loss to understand. He had proposed to three 

A Refusal. 233 

or four women before, and except in one instance, long ago, 
when he really cared, it was little more than asking them to 
dance. He must be getting shaky, he thought, losing his nerve, 
beginning to grow old ! liaison de plus, by Jove ! and here she 
came, as usual at a gallop ! 

It was a fiercer gallop than common. Tomboy knew as well 
as his mistress that she was put out, vexed, hurt, irritated, angry. 
Dolly Egremont had not been near her for three whole days, 
and Lady Baker, deaf as she was, had heard of his dining "with 
a lot of actresses, my dear, and those sort of people, such a 
pity ! " at Richmond. 

Janey was, therefore, at her worst. The frost is never so 
bitter as just before its break-up, and it needed no weather-wise 
prophet to foretel that her severity would ere long thaw, and 
dissolve itself in a flood of tears. 

Being piqued with one lover, she naturally returned the 
salutation of another with suspicious cordiality. Nay, reining 
up Tomboy, she sidled him, snorting and glowing all over, close 
to the foot-path ; shaking hands with Burton across the rail, 
and observing meaningly, that "he must have a good memory, 
and she hoped his early rising wouldn't do him any harm ! " 

Thus encouraged, the Dandy made his plunge. " Miss Tre- 
gunter," said he, looking imploringly up in her face, and then 
glancing at the groom, to make sure he was out of hearing. 
" You're always laughing at a fellow — will you promise not to 
laugh at me, if I tell you something ? I'm in earnest. Upon 
my soul I am ! " 

"Ain't I as grave as a judge? " she replied comically, but her 
heart beat faster, and she didn't quite like it. 

" You won't believe me," he continued, speaking very quick, 
and scanning the ride anxiously each way, in fear of interruption. 
"I'm not the sort of man you think. I — I'm a domestic 
fellow in reality. I was happy enough till I began to — to like 
you so much. Now I'm so bored if I don't see you, I'm 
perfectly miserable. I've been watching for you here, at least 
an hour," (he dashed away the cigar not half smoked out, that 
he had lighted when he took up his station there), " will you — 
won't you, give me a right to wait for you, and ride with you, 
and walk with you, and take you about with me everywhere 
as my wife ? " 

Then he wished he had not thrown his cigar away, there was 
guch an awkward pause while she looked straight between her 
horse s ears. 

2.H The IFliite Hose. 

For one moment she wavered. He was handsome, he w as 
well-known, he had a certain spurious reputation, and it would 
make Dolly so miserable ! This last consideration brought with 
it the necessary reaction. All her better nature rose in appeal 
against such an act of rebellion, and Jane Tregunter never seemed 
so lovely nor so womanly as, while looking frankly down, straight 
into the Dandy's eyes, she laid her hand in his, and said gently 
but decidedly, " You pay me a higher compliment, Mr. Burton, 
than I deserve ; nay, than I desire. Many other women would 
make you far happier than I should. Believe me, I am proud of 
your admiration, and I value your friendship. I shall not lose 
it, shall I, because I am honest and straightforward in saying No?" 

Then she bowed her head, tightened her veil, put Tomboy 
into a gallop, and never stopped till she reached her own door, 
where, dismissing him with a kiss in the very middle of his nose, 
she ran upstairs, locked herself into her own room, and reappeared 
at luncheon, considerably refreshed by "a good cry," and a dose 
of sal volatile and red lavender. 



Men have no efficient substitute for either of the above restora- 
tives. Instead of crying, they swear, instead of taking tonics, 
they consume tobacco, sometimes brandy-and-water, feeling the 
while what they themselves call " a facer," none the less that 
they affect to make light of, and carry it off with bravado. The 
Dandy's heart was perhaps unwounded by Miss Tregunter's 
refusal, but his self-interest sustained a crushing blow, and harder 
yet to bear, his self-esteem was stricken to the dust. So he walked 
on aimlessly, through that wilderness which stretches its expanse 
in front of Knightsbridge Barracks, almost wishing that he was 
9 jolly subaltern once more, with no heavier cares in life than the 
steadiness of his troop, the fit of his jack-boots, and the length 
of his charger's tail. He reflected, as we all of us do now and 
then when things go wrong, how he had wasted time, and 
energy, and opportunities in the pursuit of— -what ? When he 
came to think about it, he could not say that he had been posi- 
tively pursuing anything except discomfiture. And he had over- 
taken his quarry to-day, no doubt. He had been unscrupulous, 
perhaps, but still he owned a conscience, such as it was. Not 

A Rebuff. 235 

good enough for happiness, not wicked enough for pleasure, he 
felt he had botched the whole business from beginning to end, 

and resolved henceforth to turn over a new leaf, and but 

what would the world say ? That he had been refused by Miss 
Tregunter, and was an altered mar. in consequence. Here he 
cursed an innocent little girl who crossed his path trundling her 
innocent little hoop; and having thus relieved his temper, felt 
more like himself again. No ! The world (his world, a miserable 
little coterie of five hundred people) should not pity him. He 
would show them (and much they would care) that he rose the 
stronger for a fall, the bolder for defeat. Such a repulse as had 
just checked him could only be covered by an audacious attack, a 
startling victory ! Then he thought what a fool he had been 
thus to put himself in Miss Tregunter's power. Could he depend 
upon her silence? He believed not. At any rate it was against 
all his maxims to trust a woman to hold her tongue. She wasn't 
half a bad girl after all ; beyond a feeling of soreness, he bore 
her no grudge for her refusal, though he pitied her bad taste ; 
but to suppose that she would abstain from sticking into her cap 
such a feather as the conquest of Dandy Burton, was simply 
absurd. She would tell her intimate friends. Mrs. Vandeleur, 
of course. And now something really stung him to the quick, 
while he thought how soon this last piece of tomfoolery would 
come to the knowledge of the White Rose. She had been cooler 
than usual to him of late, she had even snubbed him very de- 
cidedly in public, and he fancied he could detect in her manner 
an impatience of his friendly professions, of the obligations under 
which he had placed her, and of the terms on which they stood. 
"Women often married fellows, he argued, for no better reason 
than to get out of an anomalous position. There was nobody 
else in the held, that he knew of. Stay ! There was a myste- 
rious rival somewhere, but the world could only shrug its bare 
worldly shoulders, and nod, and whisper, without being able to 
point out the man. " It was strange," said the world behind its 
fan, " that such a woman as that, so handsome, so high-spirited, 
so independent, should have no acknowledged lover in society ; 
less strange, perhaps, you will say, my dear, when I assure you 
that I know from the best authority she does disappear once or 
twice a week, and nobody can tell what becomes of her. She is 
always back to d:aner, that I can prove, because mine is half- 
sister to dear Lady Tattle's maid, who was with Mrs. Vandeleui 
all last season. Depend upon it there's something queer about 
her. She don't dye her hair, she wears her own teeth, and as foi 

%$6 The White Rose. 

Madame Rachel, I know it's not that, because I — Well, neve? 
mind why, but I know it isn't. Of course it's very foolish, and 
the way to get herself talked about. Such a pity, dear, isn't it? ' 

All this, thought Burton, was so much in favour of any well- 
bred, well-known man, who should offer to make her his wife 
in a plain, sensible way, apart from everything like sentiment or 
romance. If her position was insecure, it would be fortified by 
a husband, and what a pleasant house might be kept, what 
charming little dinners might be given, by such a man as him- 
self, for instance, and such a woman as the White Rose ! What 
an idiot he had been to make Jane Tregunter an offer, when, 
perhaps, he might marry Mrs. Vandeleur out-of-hand. By the 
time he reached Albert Gate he began to think he was very much 
in love with her. 

The Dandy's, however, was no unreasoning or uncalculating 
affection. He added to the lady's personal charms many more 
lasting advantages, such as jointure, private fortune, position, and 
acquaintances. Ere he was well out of the Park, he said to him- 
self, he had got a strong pull over her, and he would be an ass 
not to use it. While he turned the corner of the street she lived 
in, he resolved to run his chance then and there ; by the time he 
reached her door, he assured himself, though not very heartily, 
that the fight was as good as over, and he must gain the victory. 
She could not be out, for there was her brougham, with its hand- 
some brown horse, in waiting, so he tore a leaf off his betting- 
book and sent up a line, as follows : — 

"Dear Mrs. V., — May I see you for one moment — not on 
business ? Please say yes !" 

In two minutes he was following Robert Smart up the well- 
known staircase, feeling a little nervous, but pluming himseli 
notwithstanding on his spirit of adventure in thus proposing to 
two women the same morning, before he sat down to luncheon. 

Ushered into the familiar drawing-room, he found Mrs. Van- 
deleur at the writing-table with her bonnet on, ready dressed to 
go out. She finished her note hastily, dashing off the signature 
with a scrawl, shook hands with him, and said, as composedly as 
if he had been her grandfather, — 

" What can I do for you, Mr. Burton ? I am afraid luncheon 
is quite cold." 

It was a bad beginning. His savoir fai^e told him that for 
such a purpose as he had in view, the gentleman could not be 
too calm and collected, with plenty of leisure before him; 
the lady, however flurried, should by no means be in haste. He 

A Rebuff. 437 

knew he had better back out and put it off, but goaded by the 
reflection that his late defeat would become public property 
long before dinner-time, he advanced with the courage of despair, 

" You can give me five minutes," he replied, " I will try not 
to detain you longer." 

" Speak up," she answered, with a laugh, seating herself a long 
way off. 

He was standing on the hearth-rug, smoothing the glossy sur- 
face of his hat. Like every other man under similar circum- 
stances, this employment afforded him a certain confidence. 
Deprived of the instrument, he would have been utterly and 
idiotically helpless. 

"Mrs. Vandeleur," he began, "I have had the pleasure of 
knowing you a long time. Our interests have lately become 

The proud look was gathering on her face, crossed with a shade 
of scorn. 

" Mr. Burton," she replied, " I deny the position." 

" Well ! " he retorted, a little nettled. " The world, at least, 
is good enough to think so. I have proved my friendship — more, 
my devotion — in the only way the nineteenth century permits. 
Formerly a man got his head broken for the sake of the lady 
he admired. To-day he goes into the City and sees her lawyer 
for her. You have difficulties. Let them become mine. People 
talk about us. Give them a reason for talking. They have 
joined our names together. Let us join them ourselves for good 
and all." 

No amount of anger or vexation could have been so discom- 
fiting as the blank bewilderment on Mrs. Vandeleur's haughty 

" Mr. Burton !" said she. " Are you in your senses ?" 

"Perfectly," he replied, growing red with wrath. "And if 
you were too, you could hardly hesitate in accepting an offer so 
obviously to your advantage." 

She rose from her chair with the port of an Empress, and every 
syllable she uttered in her clear, cold voice, cut sharp and true, 
like a knife. 

" Mr. Burton, I thank you for teaching me a lesson I ought 
perhaps to have learnt long ago. I now see that a woman in 
my position cannot have a ??2tm-friend without subjecting herself 
to misconstruction and insult. Yes, insult j for I consider your 
suggestion, made in such a way, neither more nor less. Not 
another day will I remain under the slightest obligation to yo«^ 

2.?S The White Rose. 

— not an hour, if I can help it ! What you propose is impossi- 
ble, and I regret it— you needn't look pleased — I regret it foi 
this reason, that, were it possible, I might better make you under 
.Stand the scorn and loathing with which I reject your offer, and 
which I hope it is not unladylike in me to express. When we meet 
in society, it will be as the merest acquaintance. You startled 
me at first, but I will not pay you the compliment of saying I 
am surprised. Good morning, Mr. Burton 3 I need not detain 
you another moment." 

Thus speaking, she swept out of the room with one of those 
bows, which, for courtesy of dismissal, is about equivalent to a 
slap in the face. 

He had caught an outward polish from the society in which he 
lived, and held the door open for her to pass, but he was not a 
gentleman all through, and cursed her bitterly as he stepped 
down-stairs, muttering between his teeth that " he would be 
even with her before all was done!" He never knew exactly 
how he got into the street, but when there, observed the 
brougham had not left the door. A bright thought struck him, 
which was less, perhaps, an inspiration of the moment than the 
result ot many previous suspicions brought to a head, as it were, 
by spite. Collecting all his energies, he resolved to act on it 



"It's to be war to the knife, is it?" said the Dandy to the 
nearest lamp-post. "All right; I am agreeable, my lady, and I 
advise you to look out !" Then he thought of the one suspicion 
about Mrs. Yandeleur, the one speck that tarnished the petals of 
the White Rose. If he could make himself master of this secret, 
unmask the intrigue that he never doubted it involved, and iden- 
tify the lover for whose sake she ran so great a risk, he would be 
able to dictate his own terms. After all, you see the Dandy was 
not the least a gentleman, in the real acceptation of the word, 
though he was received as such by society ; but he had plenty of 
cunning, a fair share of tact, and many of the less estimable 
qualities which go to form a shrewd man of the world. " Never 
make a rush at your adversary, after receiving a severe blow," say 
the mentors of the prize-ring. " Keep out of distance, shaka 
your head a little, and collect yourself, before you go in again." 

The Reason JPliy. %Yj 

Dandy Burton, sore and quivering from the punishment he 
had sustained, acted on this wholesome advice, smoothed his 
ruffled feathers, and began to think. 

He looked at his watch ; it was but little after two o'clock. 
Mrs. Vandeleur must have ordered luncheon at least an hour 
sooner than usual. He knew the ways of the house and the 
habits of its mistress. He was aware she would not go shopping 
so early. There was a great breakfast to-day at the Cowslips, 
but he had heard her say she should send an excuse. All London 
would be there, and Mrs. Vandeleur seldom refused anything of 
Lady Syllabub's. There must be some reason for this unusual 
seclusion. Perhaps it was her day for the mysterious expedition ? 
— the day of all others she had better have kept friends with 
him. Now was the time to follow and find her out. 

Two doors oft' stood a four-wheeled cab, just dismissed. The 
driver having only received his proper fare, was crawling sulkily 
off at a walk. Burton hailed him, and jumped in. 

" Is your horse pretty fresh ?" said he, showing a half-crown 
in his fingers. 

Fresh ! Of course he was as fresh as paint. Who ever 
heard of a cab-horse being tired when the fare looked like a 
shilling a mile ? 

"Then drive to the other end of the street," continued the 
Dandy. " Watch that brougham with a brown horse. He 
can trot, mind you, and you must put on the steam. Don't 
lose sight of it for a moment. Follow within twenty yards 
wherever it goes." 

Then he pulled both windows up, and waited — waited — 
patiently enough, with his eye on the dark-coloured brougham. 

What is it they do ? Mrs. Vandeleur had been ready dressed 
from top to toe when he entered her house a quarter of an hour 
ago, ypt it was at least another quarter of an hour before she 
emerged. The brown horse, however, made up for lost time, 
starting off, directly he heard the carriage-door bang, at a good 
twelve miles an hour. Could she be going shopping after all ? 
The brougham was pulled up at a stupendous establishment for 
the promotion of feminine extravagance, and its occupant went 
in looking extremely like a purchaser ; but at the door she spoke 
to her footman, who touched his hat, mounted the box from 
which he had lately descended, and was driven slowly away. 

" Carriage ordered home," thought Burton ; " don't want the 
servants to talk. Scent improves every yard. There's no bolt- 
hole to this place, for I've been in it a hundred times. She must 

&4& < The White Rose. 

come out again the same way. Patience, my boy — we shall be 
even with her yet." 

He had not long to wait. She soon re-appeared with an extra 
veil on, and a small paper parcel in her hand. Hailing a passing 
cab, and sadly soiling her dress against the wheel getting in, she 
was off again j but he had no fear now of her escaping him. 
His driver, too, entered thoroughly into the spirit of the chase, 
well aware that such jobs as these afforded a lucrative day's work. 
What a wearisome business it was, jingling at the rate of six 
miles an hour through those interminable streets that lead to the 
suburbs of London on the Kensington side. The Dandy hated 
discomfort, and no vehicle but a Wallachian waggon could have 
been less adapted to commodious transit than that in which he 
found himself. The seat was high and sloping ; the roof jammed 
a new hat down on his eyebrows ; the cushions, of a faded plush, 
felt damp and slippery ; the windows rattled in their frames ; 
the whole interior smelt of mould, old clothes, and wet straw. 
He would have abandoned the pursuit more than once, but 
that the spirit of spite, vengeance, and wounded self-love, kept 
him up. 

As he rumbled on, his suspicions and anticipations of a 
crowning triumph increased more and more. The length of the 
journey, the distance from her own home — all these precautions 
argued something of a nature which the world would condemn 
as very disgraceful if found out. What a bright idea his had 
been thus to constitute himself a spy on her actions, and attain 
the power of showing her up ! He exulted, this man, in the 
probable degradation of the woman he had implored an hour 
ago to be his wife, and there was nobody to kick him — more's 
the pity. 

The turns became shorter, the houses less imposing. Passing 
new streets and plots of ground "To Let on Building Lease," 
they soon reached real standard trees and leafy hedges. Burton's 
driver was already revolving in his mind the remunerative nature 
of the job, calculating how high a sum he might venture to 
charge for " back fare," when the cab he followed stopped with 
a jerk at a green door, let into a garden wall surrounding a 
house of which the roof and chimneys could alone be seen from 

Burton squeezed himself into a corner of his hiding-place, and 
watched Mrs. Vandeleur dismiss her cab. There seemed no 
hesitation about the fare, and she tendered it with an air of de- 
cision that denoted she was here not for the first nor second 

The Reason Why. 24* 

time. The Dandy's exultation was only damped by certain mis- 
givings as to his own position if he ventured further, supposing 
there was a lover in the case, supposing that lover should be 
irascible, prone to personal collision and disposed to resent a 
liberty with blows. There was no time however for hesitation, 
and he possessed, at least, that mere physical indifference to a 
wrangle which depends chiefly on digestion. He was out of 
his cab the instant Mrs. Vandeleur passed through the green door. 
Either by accident or design she left it ajar, and he followed 
so close on her track as to catch a glimpse of her dress while she 
turned an angle of the shrubbery in which he found himself. It 
was one of those snug secluded retreats to be rented by scares 
within an hour's drive of London in any direction, and which 
convey as perfect an idea of privacy and retirement as the most 
remote manorhouse in Cumberland or Cornwall. Through a 
vista in the shrubbery, rich with its fragrance of lilacs and syringa, 
gleaming with Portugal laurels and gilded with drooping labur- 
nums, the intruder caught a glimpse of a long low white building, 
surrounded by a verandah, defended with creepers, sun-shades, 
Venetian blinds, and other contrivances of a stifling nature to 
keep out the heat. 

He followed up the chase by a winding path through the 
densest of this suburban thicket, to emerge on a trim, well-kept 
lawn, studded with a few stone vases, and overshadowed by a 
gigantic elm, girdled with a circular wooden seat. 

Under the shade of this fine old tree, a garden-chair had been 
wheeled, but Mrs. Vandeleur's undulating figure, as she crossed 
the lawn, hid its occupant from the spy's observation, although 
for a moment he fancied he could detect the silvery hair of an 
old man's head reclining against the cushions. 

He had no time, however, to speculate. The White Rose, 
who had ignored him patiently till he was too far advanced for 
retreat, turned fiercely on him now, and the Dandy never felt 
so small as while he stood there in the summer sunshine, 
thoroughly ashamed of himself, quivering like a beaten hound, 
and shrinking from the insupportable scorn of those merciless 

She spoke low, as people often do when they mean what they 
say, but her whole figure seemed to dilate and grow taller in its 
concentration of disgust and defiance ; nor will I take upon me 
to affirm that, through all Mr. Burton s discomfiture, there did 
not lurk a faint glimmer of consolation to think he had escaped 
such a Tartar for a wife. 

242 The White Rose. 

"I congratulate you," she said; "I make you my compli. 
merits on the high chivalrous spirit you have displayed to-day, 
and your gentlemanlike conduct throughout. Do you think I 
am an idiot, Mr. Burton ? Do you flatter yourself" I have not 
seen through you? I knew you were following me here from 
the moment I left 'Barege and Tulle's' in the cab; I deter- 
mined to give you a lessor-.., and now you have it ! This, sir, 
is the intrigue I carried on for years. Here is the lover I come 
to see. Ah ! look at him, and thank your stars that he is no 
longer the Vandeleur you remember in the pride and strength 
of manhood. (Hush! hush! hush!)" and she laid her hand 
caressingly on the brows of the feeble drivelling idiot, whose 
eye was beginning to brighten, and his pulses to stir with the 
only sensation he had left, that of jealousy at the presence of any 
one with his wife. Her glance was soft and tender while she 
soothed her husband, but it gleamed like steel when it turned 
again on the unhappy Dandy. "Yes," she continued, "you 
may thank your stars, I say; for, by Heaven ! if this was the 
man of a dozen years ago, he would have kicked you from here 
back to London, evary step of the way ! Now go ! " 

And Dandy Burton went sneaking through the shrubbery and 
the garden-door, like a detected pickpocket, glad to find the 
miserable cab that brought him still in waiting, thankful to hide 
his head hi that mouldy refuge, rejoicing to hurry back and 
lose himself amongst a myriad of fellow-reptiles in town. 

But the day's excitement and the day's anxiety were not yet 
over for Mrs. Vandeleur. The ruling passion that had destroyed 
her husband's intellect, already sapped by excess and self-indul- 
gence, thus excited by the intruder's presence, blazed into the 
first lucid interval he had known since his fatal injuries. The 
poor idiot seemed to awake from some long, deep, dreamless 
slumber, and reason returned for the space of a few hours, 
during which he recognised Norah, conversed with her, and 
called her by name. She had nursed him, tended him, looked 
after him for years, yet never before, since his accident, had he 
even looked as if he knew she was there. But it was the part- 
ing gleam of sunset oil a rainy evening, (lie flash of the candle 
expiring in its socket. 

By ten o'clock that night John Vandeleur was lying dead in 
the secluded retreat, which had been to him a living tomb from 
the day he was brought into it, crushed, mangled, and insane, 
after his ghastly leap into the court-yard of t he Hotel at Heidel- 

IFithout. H3 



It was oai'Iy spring in London, so early that the east winds had 
not thoroughly set in, and the mild genial weather gladdened 
the very vegetables in the areas, and the crossing-sweepers, who 
had plenty to do after the thaw, in the streets. It was to be an 
early season too, so people said 5 and though squares and crescents 
had not yet put on their tender green dresses that wear so badly 
through summer dust and smoke — though asparagus had not 
appeared in the market, and lamb was still thirteen-pence a 
pound, — knockers began to thunder, carriages to roll, cards to 
pour in, and the business of life seemed about to commence, for 
young ladies of the upper class, from seventeen to seven-and- 
twenty, waking out of winter lethargy into the delightful hurry 
and excitement of the season. 

A good many people were already in town. Mrs. Vandeleur 
had left off her widow's cap and reduced the depth of her crape 
borders. Dolly Egremont, after a grand quarrel with Miss Tre- 
gunter, who had spent several months in the South of France, 
and never shown since, was up to his ears in theatrical affairs. 
His correspondence with the American actress alone, who, 
always coming, had not yet arrived, would have kept one secre- 
tary in full employment ; and while he was good-humoured 
and friendly as ever, he looked (for him) harassed and worn with 
too much to do, something on his mind, and not a single mo- 
ment to spare. 

Dandy Burton was going about as usual ; had left cards on 
the White Rose more than once — nay, had even shaken hands 
when he met her by accident in the street, though against her 
will. And Gerard Ainslie, with capital lodgings in Jermyn 
Street, was ordering carriages, buying hacks, giving dinner- 
parties, and making acquaintances with the greatest rapidity, for 
he had come into some six or seven thousand a year. 

Yes, the wheel had turned at last. His great-uncle was dead, 
not having thoroughly forgiven him, and, indeed, having made 
several wills, in which all he possessed was left away from his 
nearest relation. When an elderly gentleman marries his house 
keeper, it is to be supposed that he takes so decided a step from 
personal knowledge of her character and long familiarity with 
her good qualities. He does not alVas find, however, that she 
makes him as good a wife as she did a servant, and disappointment 

«44 The White Rose. 

under such circumstances at the failure of an article is generally 
proportioned to the price paid for it. In the present instance 
hatred and disgust soon replaced whatever sentiments of affection 
or esteem had induced the old man to commit such an absurdity ; 
and nobody but his lawyer would have had patience with the 
childish irritation that caused him day after day to dictate and 
destroy different testamentary dispositions of his handsome pro- 
perty. At last, in a fit of unreasonable anger against his wife, 
he left everything to his great-nephew, and died the following 
morning in a fit of apoplexy. 

Gerard Ainslie now found himself extricated, if not from 
penury, at least from very narrow circumstances, and raised to 
considerable wealth. The change arriving in the full flush and 
prime of manhood, was like a new life. A very young man 
coming into possession of a large fortune, hardly appreciates 
either the advantages he has gained, or the inconveniences from 
which he has escaped. Later, when the ^loom is off the flower 
once for all, nothing can excite him to great exultation, and he 
has probably learned the inevitable lesson of experience, that 
happiness, never found when sought, is independent of externals, 
and springs exclusively from within. But for one who has been 
through the privations and annoyances of poverty while at an 
age to feel their edge most keenly, to emerge from them at a 
time of life when hope has not yet sunk below the horizon, 
when the sap is still rising in the tree, such a transformation of self 
and surroundings is light after darkness, winter after summer, 
health after sickness, freedom after captivity, pleasure after pain. 
No man in London was better qualified than Gerard Ainslie 
to appreciate such an alteration in his fortunes. Brought up 
with the taste and habits of an English gentleman,, he united 
the love of luxury and refinement with the delight in rough 
athletic exercises peculiar to his class. This combination can 
hardly be considered economical ; and a man who wants to tire 
three horses in a day, risking neck and limbs over High Leicester- 
shire, ere he returns to a dinner-party, music, and the society of 
half-a-dozen charming women at night, should have a purse as 
deep as his desire for pleasure is inexhaustible, should be placed 
by Fortune in a position that admits of his wasting time, energy, 
health, and capital in the pursuit of mere amusement. Gerard, 
as we know, had been what is called a "good fellow" all his 
life. A Ion camarade at the diggings, a jovial companion at a 
mess-table or in a club, with men he was sure to be popular, 
from his frank, pleasant temper, his high spirit, and something 

Without. 245 

womanly at his heart. The ladies had made a favourite of him 
from boyhood. To their deeper perceptions there had always 
been something fascinating about his eyes and smile. They 
liked him none the worse now that his whiskers were grown, 
and he had the reputation of being a traveller, an adventurer, a 
'• man with a history," above all a capital parti. 

So, in a few weeks, he was asked to a great vaiiety of places, 
saddled with a vast number of engagements, any of which (and 
this made him none the less popular) he was ready to throw over 
at a moment's notice, and altogether launched on the world of 
London with a fair wind and a flowing tide. 

We all know the story of the princess and her rumpled rose- 
leaf felt through half a score of blankets. Gerard also had a leaf 
or two that worried him in the bed of roses to which he had 
lately climbed. In the first place, his play had not yet been 
acted, although, as may be easily imagined, his accession to wealth 
had in no way detracted from the merits of a piece which 
Dolly's friendship had accepted when the author was poor. 
Still he was eager to behold it on the stage ; and in the short 
period during which necessity compelled him to wield the pen, 
he had contracted a jealous anxiety for publicity, an insatiable 
desire for fame, such as poisons the content of most inexperienced 
authors, dramatic and otherwise. 

"Pope Clement, or the Cardinal's Collapse" had not yet 
been put in rehearsal. Everything depended on the American 
actress, and the American actress depended on a New York 
public and the Sou'-westers of the Atlantic. Till she arrived 
he could not answer the questions showered on him by every 
acquaintance in the street, " When is your play coming out ? " 
— this was rose-leaf number one. 

Rose-leaf number two gave him a good deal more uneasiness. 
He was in a continual fidget about Mrs. Vandeleur. The notice 
of her husband's death in the Times did not, indeed, surprise 
him as much as the rest of the London world, who had chosen 
to consider her a widow for some years, but it had opened up a 
range of speculation that all the duties and pleasures of his new 
position seemed unable to drive out of his head. She had but 
lately returned to town, he knew that, for in the set amongst 
whom he now lived it was no longer necessary to tamper with 
servants for information of her movements. She had been down 
to Oakover. He wondered whether she visited her father's par- 
sonage, the road across the marshes, the old haunts that were in 
his memory still like "holy ground," and whether sh« thought 

446 The While Rose. 

of him ? He could bear it no longer ; see her he must, and all 
unconscious of the genial spring weather, he started nervously 
on foot for her residence, dreading mainly his recognition by 
Robert Smart, and the contingency of her not being at home. 

In spite of his agitation, he could not forbear smiling as he 
walked along, and remembered how different had been his 
passage through the streets of London a few short months ago, 
when every day's dinner was uncertain, and he could not even 
afford decent clothes to his back. Now the very crossing- 
sweepers, who tripped him up, called him "my lord." Hansom 
cab-drivers, eyeing him respectfully from their perches, shot 
imploring glances to take him in. Taper fingers were kissed 
and pretty heads bowed at him from well-appointed carriages, 
while dandies, for whom nothing on earth seemed good enough, 
stopped to clap him familiarly on the shoulder and take him by 
the hand. 

It was pleasant, it was exhilarating ; but he had been a gold- 
digger ; he had been a settler ; he had served one voyage, when 
at his worst, before the mast, — and it did not turn his head the 
least. Jack, who shared his last quid with him that night in the 
whaleboat, was perhaps quite as good a fellow as Lord Frederick ; 
Tom, who nursed him through low fever in the swamps, had a 
pleasanter way with him than Sir Harry, and looked indeed a 
good deal more like a gentleman. Nay, something happened at 
Hyde Park Corner that could scarcely have taken place in San 
Francisco or Ballarat. 

Two remarkably well-dressed young men, walking arm-in- 
arm, stopped short ten paces off, and crossed Piccadilly at the 
muddiest part, as if to avoid a meeting. He recognised them 
both. One, indeed, had the grace to blush deeply while he 
picked his way through the dirt, and his letter Gerard could 
feel at that moment in his own breast-pocket, requesting the 
loan of a large sum of money ; but the other only laughed, and 
with reason, for he had borrowed a couple of hundred the week 
before from the man he seemed so anxious to avoid, and the 
joke was probably enhanced by the small probability of his ever 
being able to pay ! 

Gerard felt so hurt, the tears almost rose to his eyes. " Hang 
it ! " he muttered, " I can't be such a bad fellow as they take 
me for j and I thought they were friends — real friends I could 
depend upon. I've met some staunch ones in my life, but I 
Wonder how many I've got left ! " 

It set him thinking} the behaviour of these young gentlemen 

Without. 247 

puzzled him. lie did not see that they were merely acting up 
to a wholesome rule for the enjoyment of life, which forbids 
people, under any circumstances, to run the slightest risk of 
being bored. They felt, doubtless with some tact, that there 
would be a certain amount of gene about a meeting, till the one's 
loan and the other's letter had been forgotten. So, they simply 
avoided it. Perhaps they were right ; but Gerard had worn a 
red shirt and carried a pick-axe too lately to see the matter in 
that light, and he turned down Grosveuor Place, reflecting with 
some bitterness that there was but one good fellow in the whole 
ot London, and his name was Dolly Egremont. 

A block of carriages in Halkin Street, checking the stream of 
foot-passengers, brought him on to that gentleman's very 
shoulders. The two naturally hooked arms, and walked forward 

Gerard's heart was full. He pressed his friend's elbow to his 

" Old fellow," said he, " don't think me a beast ! I'm not really 
ungrateful. I've never half thanked you for the hand you gave 
me when I was so deep in the hole— I've never had a chance." 

"Nonsense!" snwsered Dolly, with an Englishman's insur- 
mountable repugnance to all expression of sentiment, "you 
would have done just the same for me ! But it's all right now, 
isn't it ? " 

" Right ! " replied the other. " I'm in clover, my dear fellow, 
I positively roll in riches. Look here, I never can repay your 
kindness and consideration j but with regard to the money, that 
kept me from starving, you know. By Jove — literally from 
starving ! It's nothing to me now, but it was everything then, 
and altogether it amounts to a goodish sum, and it must have 
inconvenienced you with that theatre on your hands, and — in 
short " 

Gerard was getting confused, and could net put into proper 
language what he wanted to say. His friend turned round on 
him and stood still. 

" I've never told you," said he — " I never knew whether I 
might — Jerry, you ought to know — the money didn't come 
from me j at least, very little of it ; there was another party in 
the case, a party you'd hardly guess, who ' parted ' freely, like a 
brick ! " 

" Not Burton! " exclaimed Gerard, in an accent of consider- 
ib'e larm. 

" No , not Burton ! " repeated the otl er. " Quite the reverses 


a^.3 The White Rose. 

~ may say. What do you think of the White Rose, my boy ? 
It'was, I give you my honour ! Every shilling I forwarded yon 
in those three different drafts came from Mrs. Vandeleur." 

Gerard Ainslie started as if he had been shot. " Mrs. Vande- 
leur ! " was all he could gasp, " I was going to call there now." 

" You'll find her at home," answered the other, looking at his 
watch. " She never drives till four o'clock. Good-bye, Jerry, 
it's time I was at the Accordion." 

And Dolly, hailing a passing hansom, was carried off forth- 
with, leaving his friend at Mrs. Vandeleur's door, in a whirl of 
conflicting feelings, amongst which a sense of unspeakable hap- 
piness predominated. If nervous before, judge what he was 
now. He never knew how he rang the bell, who opened the 
door, by what process he got up-stairs, or whether he entered 
Mrs. Vandeleur's drawing-room on his head or his heels ! 



She had been thinking of him all the morning. Sitting with 
her feet on the fender, and her work in her lap, she was thinking 
of him even then. She had come to London earlier than she 
intended, earlier, indeed, than Lady Baker and other counsellors, 
strict guardians of the convenances, had advised, in the hope that 
on that restless, shifting, every-varying sea, they might, after 
all those years of separation, be drifted together once more. 

The night her husband died had afforded Norah one of those 
glimpses into reality that sometimes reveal to us the misappre- 
hensions and misconceptions under which we too often shape 
our conduct. It was the sudden clearing off, so to speak, of 
a fog in which she had been wandering with false impressions 
of latitude, longitude, locality, and general bearings. 

Roused to a temporary consciousness by Burton's unjustifiable 
intrusion, Vandeleur had taken advantage of his restored faculties 
to make his wife the only amends left before re-action came 
on and the lamp of life was extinguished for ever. Holding 
her hand, looking into her face, with the bright, still cunning 
eyes, that never formerly, even in his best days, could thus meet 
her own, he confessed the treachery he had practised towards 
herself and the inexperienced boy, whom he knew she had 
loved from the first. He detailed, with something of the old 

Within, 449 

graceful flattery, so touching in this helpless, dying invalid, the 
effect of her charms on his worn, world-wearied heart. He 
had loved her in his selfish way as well, he told her, as it was 
>'n his nature to love anything but his own desires, and this very 
affection had wrought out his punishment. He saw it all now, 
but tou late. Of course too late ! Every fool could tell how 
the game should have been played after the tricks were turned. 
He knew he had no chance so long as Gerard Ainslie remained 
his rival ; and was he, the finished practised roue, to be beaten 
in a race for such a prize by a raw lad of nineteen ? Not if he 
knew it. All was fair in love and war. Norah remembered 
Fanny Draper, didn't she ? Pretty, good-for-nothing, black-eyed 
girl at the mill ? Well, he had bribed Miss Fanny to make up to 
the young gentleman on her own account, to follow him about, 
report his actions, intercept his correspondence, marry him 
herself if she could ! And the jade had earned her money 
fairly enough. Fairly enough he must admit. What an in- 
triguing, unscrupulous little devil it was ! The old sinner 
chuckled and gasped, and grew so weak at this stage of his 
narrative, that Norah, propping him on his pillows, thought it 
was all over, and she would hear no more. 

But he recovered to bid her mark that he was going fast, and 
she would soon find he had at least thought of her welfare at 
the very time he felt most unhappy that he could not win her 
entire affections. There had been a handsome provision made 
for her in case of his insanity. He was mad from the first he 
said ; he always knew it ! At his death she would succeed to 
Oakover and everything he had to leave. It was a dull place, 
Oakover, in a dull country ! A fellow had better be dead and 
buried at once than obliged to live in such a hole as that, but 
he wouldn't have her cut the Avenue. No, it would make the 
place look like a private mad-house to cut the Avenue. He 
should know what a private mad-house was if anybody did. 
There had been a clause in his will by which she was to forfeit 
the estate if she married again. But he had made that all right. 
When did she think? Why, just before they went abroad, 
when he began to feel she could never care for him as he wished. 
Oh, he had fought fair ! At least he had done nothing beyond 
the rules of the game. He could not bring himself to wish 
even now that he had let Gerard alone, and withdrawn from 
the contest. He had never been beat, never, till forced to yield 
under this accursed family affliction that had beaten the best of 
the Vandeleurs for many generations. Well, Norah was always 

ISO The White Rose. 

a good kind-hearted girl; she would forgive him, pcthaps, aftei 
he was gone. The mischief wasn't irremediable, when you came 
to think of \t. "Why, Fanny Draper might die, or be divorced 
more likely — that vixen never could keep steady, not if she 
married a duke ! And then, when Norah was settled at Oak- 
over with Gerard, she would think kindly of old John Vande- 
leur. She wouldn't turn his picture to the wall, would she ? 
And she had better let the Avenue alone. He was getting tired 
now, and he thought he should like to go to sleep a little. 

It is needless to say there were doctors in plenty round 
Vandeleur's death-bed. They shook their heads as they marked 
his faint breathing and the waxen placidity into which his 
features were subsiding, handsome even yet in the dignity of 
approaching immortality. But one of these wise men whispered 
that a crisis had arrived, and it was the last chance for life. 
Norah, only now awakening to the perfidy of which she had 
been a victim, only now realising the liberty that dawned on 
her, the possibility of happiness that might still fall to her lot, 
hated herself for the guilty start of apprehension with which 
she heard there was yet this vague hope of a reprieve. Then she 
went and prayed on her knees that the black drop might be 
wrung out of her heart, returning to her husband's bed-side with 
an honest wish for his recovery, and tending him once more 
with all the gentle care she had bestowed during his long-pro- 
tracted illness. But he never knew her again. Towards mid- 
night he breathed harder, muttering his first wife's name. She 
heard him distinctly ask for "Margaret" more than once ere 
he relapsed into a tranquil sleep, from which he passed calmly 
and insensibly through the gates of death. All this came back 
to her now, sitting in her solitary drawing-room with eyes fixed 
on the fire. All this, and a good deal more. It was well, no 
doubt, to be handsome, rich, free, unincumbered; above all, 
it was well to have been able, at a moment's notice and with- 
out personal inconvenience, to cancel her obligations to Mr. 
Burton; but the White Rose felt, nevertheless, very much as 
Burns' s Scottish maiden in the difficulty of choice which ladies 
of all ranks have to encounter. Many an aching heart under 
satin corset, as under serge boddice, has echoed the burden of 
her bitter plaint, — 

'•What care I in riches to wallow, 
If I may not marry Tam Glen ! " 

Mrs. Vandeleur could appreciate the advantages of her positioBj 

Within. ajl 

for she was a lady of refinement and education, but she was also 
a true-hearted woman, and would rather have worked for her 
daily bread in a two-pair-back with Gerard Ainslie, than lived, 
as she did now, in one of the prettiest houses in London without 

She had heard of his accession to fortune, and rejoiced in it, she 
firmly believed, with all her heart and soul. In this notion she 
egregiously deceived herself. My own conviction is, that she 
would have been much better pleased to have found him without 
a penny, and to have had the delight of lavishing on him, from 
her owu stores, everything he most wished for in the world. 
Besides, there was one startling consideration. As little prone 
to jealousy as it is possible for a woman to be, the White Rose 
was yet not wholly invulnerable to that uncomfortable senti- 
ment. She speculated, reasonably enough, on the unlikelihood 
that such a man as she esteemed her former lover should pass 
scatheless through the fascinating ranks of her own sex, when, in 
addition to his natural advantages, he came to possess the adven- 
titious aids of wealth and position. Somebody would be sure to 
make love to him j she could think of a dozen on the instant. 
It was impossible but that he would respond. " And how can 
I help it ? " murmured Mrs. Vandeleur, pushing her chair back 
from the glowing fire which had scorched her face and eyes to 
some purpose. " What can I do if we never meet ? I can't go 
and call upon him, and 1 do believe he has quite forgotten every- 
thing, for he has never been to call upon me ! " 

The words, half-spoken, had risen to her lips, when the door 
was thrown open, and Robert Smart announced a visitor, without 
the slightest emotion, as " Mr. Ainslie ! '' 

On the stage, at such a crisis, ladies have the unspeakable 
advantage of fainting dead away "opposite prompter" into the 
very arms of the favoured lover, to be brought to again when the 
fiddle has played eight bars, and they have gained a few mo- 
ments to recollect their cue and think of what they ought to 
say next. But in real life, unexpected emotion only makes 
people look foolish instead of interesting. And if the well- 
drilled servant had remained another second in the drawing-room, 
which he did not, he would have considered his mistress a fitting 
inmate of that " Asylum for Females of Weak Intellect " which 
he so often passed with the carriage on its way to Kew Gardens, 
and her visitor, whom he did not think it his business to recog 
nise, an escaped lunatic fresh from the incurable ward at St, 


*$a The tVhite Hose: 

Both stood for a moment trembling, stupefied, open-mouthed j 
then they shook hands, muttering something about " such a long 
time," and " didn't know you were in town." After which, a 
blank, alarming pause, and Gerard was glad to sit down in the 
nearest chair, clinging instinctively to his hat as the drowning 
man holds on to a life-buoy. 

With a woman s inborn tact, she would have given him time 
to recover, feeling herself the necessity of a moment's breathing- 
space ; but he was too far gone to take advantage of such for- 
bearance, and plunged headlong into conversation. He had not 
spoken with her since they parted, avowed lovers, all those years 
ago. Looking on her face again — or rather at the hem of her 
garment, for he scarce could trust himself to meet her eyes, not 
knowing they were studying the pattern of the hearth-rug — he 
felt in every fibre of his being that the present moment was 
worth all the sorrow and anxiety of a lifetime ; that she was 
dearer to him, if possible, than ever ; and this was the original 
remark he chose to make : " What a lovely day, Mrs. Vande- 
leur! So pleasant after our long frost." She took a good look 
at him now. He was very much what she expected ; a little 
browner, perhaps, and broader-shouldered, but the eyes and smile 
were Gerard's. In a moment, too, something of manner, 
gesture, perhaps the tremble in his voice, told her woman s 
instinct that he was her Gerard still. She gained confidence 
rapidly, and answered with commendable steadiness, "The old 
story in our English climate, Mr. Ainslie — no two days alike. 
Unchanged even in its changes. You — you won't find anything 
much changed since you went away." She was not ; he could 
tell that now when he found courage to look in her winsome 
face. The witch was as bewitching as ever; a little paler, ha 
thought, than the girl he had seen every night by those watch- 
fires in his dreams ; darker of hair, perhaps ; fuller in form ; the 
features even more delicately cut than Miss Welby's ; but with 
the old queenly air, the well-remembered grace of gesture ; above 
all, the tender, fleeting smile that lingered less about her mouth 
than in those deep, dreamy, loving eyes. He had thought her 
more changed that night in the summer, when he caught a 
glimpse of her getting into her carriage after the ball. She saw 
right through his heart, no doubt, as women can, without look- 
ing at him, and flushed with a pleasure not devoid of triumph. 
It was something, after all, to have reigned thus without a rival, 
against hope itself. She talked on about all sorts of indifferent 
subjects, — her house, her furniture, her engagements, the last 

tVithm. 4^3 

French play, the first Italian Opera, — and Gerard, smoothing his 
hat vehemently (for all his wanderings had not eradicated this 
instinct of civilised life), began to feel more collected and 
rational, less as if he was swimming aimlessly to and fro some 
five fathom under water without a hope of coming to the 

Presently he abandoned his hat, and edged his chair a little 
nearer the White Rose. " Do you know what brought me here 
to-day ? " he asked, rather abruptly. 

" Because you never came near me when I was in town last 
year " she answered, with a bright, mischievous smile, that took 
him back like magic to the lawn and the cedars at Marston 
Rectory. "I know more about you than you think. Why, I 
knew you were back before you had been a month in England." 

She stopped short and turned crimson, wishing she had not 
said so much. 

" I only heard to-day of all your generosity," he continued, 
eagerly. "Don't think me ungrateful 5 don't think me un- 
feeling. I've never thanked you; I've never written to you. 
How could I last summer? What excuse had I for coming 
near you ? And yet I saw you once. I watched for you leaving 
a ball. I waited all night, and you came out at last. You 
dropped a flower. Mrs. Vandeleur, I have got it still ! " 

She had taken a screen from the chimney-piece; that fire 
scorched her cheeks so fiercely ! Her face was hid, and she 
answered not a word ; but he could see the handle shaking in 
her grasp, and it gave him courage to go on. 

"I know everything now," he continued, "and you shall 
know everything too. I loved you, Mrs. Vandeleur, as you 
cannot have forgotten, when I was a raw, headstrong boy. I 
love you still (I may say so now you are free), being a worn 
and somewhat disheartened man. People will tell you such 
things are a romance, an impossibility. Mrs. Vandeleur, do you 
believe in them ? " 

He wanted to fix her. It was not so easy. She kept the 
screen to her face and murmured, " You have had plenty of 
time to forget me." 

" But I couldn't forget you ! " he exclaimed. " I never shall 
now. It is no use talking or thinking of what might have 
been. I loved you at nineteen, and I have loved you my whole 
life. You only liked me, and — and — is it not the truth, Mrs. 
Vandeleur ? — when somebody else came and asked you, I — I 
was discarded and put aside ! " 

354 The White Rose. 

She dropped the screen at last. She rose to her feet. She 
turned on him those wondrous eyes, and in their depths he read 
regret, reproach, forgiveness, and unalterable affection. 

" Gerard ! " was all she could find voice to say, but the tone 
was enough. It brought him to her side; his arm stole round 
her waist ; her head rested on his shoulder j and so, with loving 
words and happy tears, the whole tale of perfidy, sorrow, estrange- 
ment, and eventual sacrifice, came to an end. 

" And there is nothing between us now," she said, glancing 
at her own black garments, and wondering in her heart whether 
it was very wicked to feel so thankful she had become a widow. 

"Nothing! " repeated Gerard, thinking only of Vandeleur's 
fate, and grimly deciding that, all things considered, it served 
him right. 

"Except," continued Norah, and hesitated. She was going 
to add, "Except your own wife," but forbore to mention that 
tie, partly from motives of delicacy, remembering to have heard 
of Mrs. Aiuslie's elopement with a Frenchman ; and partly 
because of a report which had reached her long ago, and to 
which she had given too ready credence, of that lady's death. 

He observed her hesitation, and though he thought little of it 
at the time, remembered it afterwards. 

It was strange that, during the whole of this interview, the 
idea of Fanny's existence should not once have crossed her 
husband's mind. He had, indeed, for years tacitly admitted the 
probability of her decease, and was more persuaded than ever 
that he was a widower, since she had not applied to him for 
assistance on his accession to wealth; but it was, nevertheless, 
somewhat rash to accept for a certainty the freedom that rested 
on such a problematical assumption as a wife's death, simply 
because she had given no notice she was alive. Gerard would 
doubtless have taken a more practical view of his own position, 
but that this long-lost happiness found again, this realisation of 
the dream which had for years been cherished but as a dream, 
was too much for his philosophy, and any little remnants of 
common sense that might have helped him, were completely 
scattered by the prospect of claiming the White Rose at last 
for his own, to wear her proudly and thankfully next his heart 
for life. 

Time passes quickly in such interviews. He had been there 
more than an hour, and neither of them thought ten minutes 
had elapsed since his arrival. He would have stayed as long 
again, iu all probability, but for a peal at the dcor-bell. 

Within. *$$ 

announcing more visitors. Norah started, 2nd stretched out 
her hand to wish him good-bye. When their hearts are gone, 
people generally lose their heads. With a hurried promise to 
meet again on the morrow, with a whispered blessing, and one 
long, clinging, passionate kiss, Gerard was down-stairs and in 
the hall as soon as the servant whose duty it was to answer the 

On the steps stood a gentleman with a card-case in his hand. 
It was none other than Dandy Burton, who still entertained an 
ardent desire, founded chiefly on pique, to re-establish his former 
footing of friendship with Mrs. Vandeleur. He had not been 
aware till to-day that her servants were forbidden to admit him. 
He learned it now, when, meeting a visitor face to face coming 
out, he was told by the footman Mrs. Vandeleur was "not at 

The Dandy groaned a curse, deep, bitter, and unforgiving, 
between his teeth, but accosted Gerard with perfect good- 
humour and cordiality, like a man of the world, as he was. 
The former fellow-pupils had already met more than once 
since Ainslie's accession to fortune, but though their acquaint- 
ance was renewed, all its boyish frankness and mutual good- 
will had died out. They did not like each other now, had 
scarcely an idea, certainly not a sentiment in common. 
Consequently, their " Good-bye " was more hearty than their 
" How-d'ye-do." To-day they walked arm-in-arm from Mrs. 
Vandeleur's door to the end of the street, and there parted 
with exceeding good-will. Both had much to occupy their 
thoughts. The Dandy, who could not fail to notice his com- 
panion's glistening eye, buoyant step, and general air of blissful 
preoccupation, began to suspect how the land lay, and resolved 
forthwith to lose no time hi shaping a spoke that should fit 
their wheel to a nicety! While Gerard, in all the engrossing 
ecstasies of a man who has just realised his ideas of Paradise, 
wanted no society but his own, certainly was least of all dis- 
posed for that of one against whom his instincts warned him 
as an obstacle in his path. 

Something told him that even if he wanted the power, the 
Dandy had all the will to become his rival. 

*$6 The White Rose. 


"lost, STOLEN, or strayed." 

Most ot us have some friend in the world on whom we think 
we are justified in inflicting our grievances, confidences, sorrows, 
and chiefly our scrapes. Out of the latter we expect him to 
pull us, though he should go in up to his neck on our behalf; 
and we generally favour him with a good deal of bad temper 
on our own account, and personal abuse, which we call " plain- 
speaking," if he venture to differ with us in opinion on the very 
subjects for which we demand his advice. 

Such a friend was Dolly Egremont to many of his own in- 
timates. To none more than Gerard Ainslie. The latter had 
not proceeded one hundred yards in the direction of Grosvenor 
Place ere conviction came full upon him, that Dolly, and nobody 
but Dolly, must be collared and consulted forthwith. 

1 have said that the idea of Mrs. Ainslie's existence had in no 
wise tempered the first glow of happiness kindled by Gerard's 
interview with his old love, but such an immunity could not 
last long after the glamour of the White Rose's presence had 
passed away. 

In the very middle of the first crossing he traversed, it came 
upon him like a flash, that unless he could positively certify 
Fanny's death j could go wooing, so to speak, with the very 
proofs in his hand, he was not only committing a crying sin by 
the woman he married, but — and in his eyes this was perhap 
even a more serious consideration — inflicting a deadly injury on 
the woman he loved. Of course, she must be dead ! He alway 
reverted to that, I fear, with but little feeling of compunction or 
remorse, cherishing, like men in general, a persuasion that on 
them has been laid the whole weight of an unhappy marriage, 
that they alone are the sufferers, and that, although she never 
asked them, although they themselves must have taken the 
initiative, and at some stage of the proceedings must have walked 
into the pit with their eyes open, the whole business is solely 
the woman's fault ! 

Gerard, then, felt chiefly anxious to prove the death of one 
whom heretofore he had so ill-advisedly vowed to love and to 

It would be difficult, of course, to obtain information at such 
a distance of time, exceedingly inconvenient to institute in- 
quiries which must be pursued abroad no less than at home. 

"Lost, Stolen, or Strayed." £$J 

Even at so late a stage of the proceedings, every day that could 
be gained was in his favour. Dolly must be consulted forth- 
with. In a quarter of an hour Gerard was threading his way 
through the narrow streets about Leicester Square in search of 
the Accordion. 

To find a theatre by daylight is almost as difficult as to follow 
a bridle-road in the dark. Gerard foolishly abandoned his cab, 
and was soon lost in a labyrinth of lanes and alleys, in which 
the staple commodities seemed to be gin, oysters, stale vege- 
tables, penny ballads, second-hand furniture, and old clothes. 
Steadily pursuing his researches, I think he must have failed at 
last, but that he came into unexpected collision with Mr. Bar- 
rington Belgrave, who bounced out of a dirty door-way in a 
dead wall covered with hanging strips of tattered red-letter ad- 

That gentleman's greeting was cold and haughty. Mr. Bel- 
grave felt aggrieved that he should have seen less of the man 
whom he had befriended in distress since "Fortune," as he 
beautifully expressed it, " had showered her sunniest smiles upon 
her minion." The actor lifted his hat with stately politeness, 
and would have passed on, but that Gerard caught his hand, 
and held him by main force. 

"You ought to know," said he, "if anybody does. I want 
to find the Accordion Theatre." 

His manner was frank as usual. Mr. Belgrave, however, 
totally unmollified, replied with freezing dignity, "I certainly 
am not likely to forget the workshop where I make my daily 
bread. With some persons, nevertheless, memory on such 
matters is not to be trusted. Step in there, Mr. Ainslie. I 
wish you good-morning, sir." 

So Ainslie stepped in, a little surprised at the dignity of 
his former friend, but attributing it in his ignorance to 
some part he was fresh from studying, and of which he could 
not at once shake off the tragic deportment and majestic air re- 

He found himself in a dark passage, apparently leading no- 
where ; but hearing Dolly's voice, made for the sound. Opening 
a door by groping till he found its handle, he entered a small 
uncomfortable room, with no carpet, fitted up like an office, 
save for a few such incongruous articles as buff-boots, stage 
jewellery, false hair, rouge-pots, and sham swords. Here he 
discovered Dolly and Mr Bowles, with a cheque-book before 
tbem, and an expression on the countenance of either that Jo- 

258 The White Rose. 

noted a summing-up of accounts in which expenditure had 
exceeded income. 

"What, Gerard!" exclaimed Dolly, in as hearty a voice as 
ever, but looking more anxious than usual. " How did you find 
your way here ? Not come about the play, have you? " 

Gerard answered in the negative, and thought he detected a 
glance of congratulation exchanged by the two managers. 

"Play!" paid he, "hang the play! I'd forgotten all about 
it. I've gol something of much more importance to talk to 
you about. We'll go back together, Dolly. If I'm fiot in the 
way I'll wait here till you are ready." 

" I'm ready now," answered his friend, shuffling a lot of papers 
together and cramming them into a drawer. After a whispered 
dialogue with Mr. Bowles, in which were to be distinguished 
such words as "exorbitant terms," "impatient public," 
"novelty," "attraction," and "New York," he took Gerard's 
arm, and sallied forth into the street. 

"The fact is," said Dolly confidentially, and in accents of 
relief as they heard the stage-door of the Accordion clang to 
behind them, " we've got a speculation on hand now that will 
either be the best hit a manager ever made, or shut up our shop 
altogether. The consequence is I am never out of the theatre. 
To-morrow's a clear day, but it's the first I've had for a month. 
To me, indeed, my dear Jerry, I do assure you 'all the world's 
a stage, and all the men and women d — d bad players ! ' I 
never was so harassed in my life. Now we've got this American 
star coming over — this Madame Molinara — and she's to make 
all our fortunes. Such a beauty, they say; such an actress, and 
such a Tartar to deal with. If she don't draw twice as many 
people as the house will hold every night, we shan't pay our 
expenses, — I can see that already. Everything is to be found 
her, my boy; and her dressmaker's bill would swamp a life-boat. 
I was running up a few items just now when you came in, 'and 
I would that my tongue could utter the oaths that arose in me.' 
I've agreed, too, Jerry, that's the worst of it. Given in to all 
her terms, and I dare not even think of them. Well, ' the 
stately ships go down,' you know, and perhaps hers may. I'm 
almost beast enough to wish she was at the bottom of the 
Atlantic, upon my soul ! " 

"I wish with all my heart she was!" answered Gerard 
laughing. " I want to talk to you about something else. I 
want you to help me. Dolly, you must stand by me like a brick. 
I'm going to be the happiest fellow in England." 

"Last, Stolen, or Strayed." 259 

Honest Dolly's face brightened at once. Whatever sorrows 
this gentleman cherished of his own, it was in his nature to put 
them aside when he could serve a friend, and of him La Roche- 
foucauld's aphorism was not true, " that there is something gra- 
tifying to every one in the misfortunes of his neighbours." 

" I'm your man," said he. "Wicket-keeper, cover-point, slip, 
or long-stop, — you bowl the twisters, I'll do the fielding for ycu. 
Hang it, Jerry, when you and I get together, I feel as if we 
were boys again, I sometimes wish we were," he added, rather 

I believe that with old schoolfellows, even men of sixty go 
back into boyhood, and are capable, at least in fancy, of " knuck- 
ling down" at marbles, "bolstering" in bed-rooms, robbing 
apple-trees, cribbing verses, and taking floggings with the forti- 
tude of boyish bravado. Gerard Ainslie, bronzed and bearded, 
here in the streets of London, answered as he might have done 
when a smooth-faced boy in Mr. Archer's pupil-room. 

" Don't jaw, Dolly. Hold on, and listen to me. You never 
were a sneak. You and I always went partners in everything, 
and have not failed each other yet. Will you see me through 
the great 'go-in' of my life, now ? " 

" Till all's blue ! " answered the other in the same vernacular j 
and then his friend, with many interruptions from basket- 
women, street-sweepers, loitering cabs and thundering omnibuses, 
disclosed as a profound secret his attachment to the White Rose 
— an announcement that created no surprise whatever — and 
his intention to be married to her without delay, a determina- 
tion that drew from Dolly a protracted and discouraging 

"There is but ons difficulty," insisted Gerard, waxing eager 
and eloquent as he warmed to the subject, " but one obstacle in 
my way, ami that, you will say, is not easily surmounted. I 
cannot at present obtain conclusive proofs of my wife's death. 
What makes me think she is dead ? Why of course she must be. 
You don't suppose, Dolly, that woman would have left me alone 
if she had been above ground when I came into some money ? 
If she's not dead, I could divorce her. Oh ! nonsense, I know 
I could. Time has nothing to do with it. But there's no oc- 
casion for anything of the kind. I tell you she is dead. I am 
as sure of it, as that yov, and I are opposite the Burlington Ar- 
cade at this moment. I must prove it, that's all. Prove it, and 
then, at last, Dolly, I shall win the prize I have been praying 
for all mv life," 

a6o The White Rose 

Before they parted it may easily be supposed that .Dolly Egre- 
mont had pledged himself heart and hand to the assistance of 
his friend. 

"old grits." 

In pursuance then of the compact between this Damon and 
Pythias, Dolly started for the country by a very early train the 
following morning, it having been arranged that he should 
employ his one day of leisure in a journey to Ripley Mill, while 
Gerard took steps for following up the necessary inquiries in 

It may not be out of place here to observe that Mr. Egremont 
was at this period in a fit state for any expedition involving 
expenditure of surplus energy, endurance of physical discomfort, 
or defiance of personal danger. He found himself in that 
abnormal mood which, according to their several characters, 
impels men to play high stakes at a gaming-table, to traverse 
the Rocky Mountains on half-rations, or to cross the Atlantic in 
a yawl. Dolly felt sore and sick at heart, all the more so that 
the part of a disconsolate suitor was quite out of keeping with 
his frank manly nature and hopeful disposition. Nevertheless, 
truth to tell, he worried himself a good deal about Miss Tre- 
gunter, [and his sorrow, which dated now some months back, 
rather increased than diminished with the lapse of time. 

It is curious how differently people act under the different 
sentiments of friendship and love. If a man feels aggrieved by 
any imaginary neglect or unkindness from some tried comrade 
for whom he entertains a sincere regard, he asks simply for an 
explanation, and in three words their good understanding is 
re-established as firmly as everj but with a woman, who is, 
after all, the more easily reconciled of the two, he adopts a 
diametrically opposite system. He usually commences with a 
levity of conduct and bitterness of speech intended to force on 
her the conviction that he has no value for her good opinion 
whatever j from this kind and considerate treatment he proceeds 
to a course of distant politeness and sulky withdrawal of his 
society, effectually shutting out from her every opportunity of 
making amends or even asking what she has done to offend, and 
finishes perhaps by a series of false accusations^ a storm of un- 

" Old Grits." a6i 

justifiable reproaches, through which she thinks herself fortunate 
if she can perceive the blue sky of forgiveness beyond. 

Dolly Egremont had as yet only reached the second stage of 
this uncomfortable and intermittent malady. He was sulking 
with Jane Tregunter, was trying to persuade himself he did not 
care for her, never had cared for her, never would care for her, 
nor for any other woman iu the world ! He had a right, he 
thought, to feel aggrieved. This young lady had left town 
shortly after her refusal of Dandy Burton's offer without 
vouchsafing to Dolly any notice of her intentions, or informing 
him of her destination. The fact is, Miss Tregunter, judging 
with more worldly wisdom than might have been expected 
from her character, was exceedingly jealous of her admirer's 
connection with the Accordion and its snares. She hated the 
very name of an actress, she almost hated Dolly himself for 
associating with that amusing and fascinating class. Burton, 
in his first and second parallels, before risking a final attack 
had made no small use of this offensive engine in his plan o\ 
operations ; especially had he insisted on the dangerous charms 
of Madame Molinara, the American star, who was always 
coming, but never came ; and this was the more unfair because 
Dolly, as we know, had not set eyes on the syren who, yet a 
thousand leagues off, could cause poor Janey such disquietude. 
Here, again, a personal interview of ten minutes, a frank ex- 
planation of as many words, would have set everything right. 
But that explanation was never granted, those words remained 
unspoken. Miss Tregunter took herself off to the Continent, 
and made no sign. It was a long and dreary winter to the 
manager of the Accordion. How many letters for Nice or 
Mentone he began and tore up unfinished to litter the waste- 
paper basket beneath his table, it is not for rne to calculate. I 
believe that the counter-irritation produced by his correspon- 
dence with Madame Molinara did him a world of good. I 
believe if Miss Tregunter had remained abroad altogether he 
might eventually have attained a permanent cure. But, con- 
found her ! she came back. The Morning Post took good care 
to tell him she was in England, tracking her steps, however, 
with considerable delicacy, no farther inland than the Pavilion 
Hotel, Folkestone. And behold Dolly in perpetual fever and 
discomfort once more ! Would she write now ? She might 
find a thousand excuses ! Or should he ? Perhaps she had for- 
gotten him outright. Women, he had always heard, both 
on and off the stage, were exceedingly prone to forget. Sii 

a 6a The White Rose. 

months was a long time — foreign travel a wondrous detraction. 
He thought, with some sinking of the heart, how many charm- 
ing French marquises, Italian counts, Russian diplomatists, and 
Austrian officers, might have made themselves agreeable to the 
fresh English " Mees " while he was minding his rehearsals at 
the Accordion. What a fool he had been to care for her. It 
only made him wretched. Much better give it up ! Yes, he 
would give it up, once for all, and devote himself entirely to the 
business he had taken in hand for his friend. 

Dolly arrived at this sensible conclusion by the time he 
reached the railway station, to establish himself in a first-class 
carriage with a wrapper over his knees, and a number of the 
Fortnightly Review, which he did not even think of cutting, in 
his hand. Whirling into the soft spring landscape of the real 
country, he found the job not quite so easy as he expected. 
Jane Tregunter had somehow mixed herself up with the morn- 
ing sky and the budding hedges the lambs frolicking in the 
meadow, the rooks flapping heavily off the new-turned plough. 
When he got out for breakfast at Shunter's Junction, the Hebe 
who made his tea, though it must be admitted no two people 
could be found more unlike, brought forcibly to his mind the 
woman he had resolved to think of no more. By the time he 
reached Ripley Station, two miles from Oakover, he had for- 
given her from the bottom of his heart, only wished her well, 
and felt he would willingly give a whole season's profits of the 
Accordion just to see her once again. 

Walking through the familiar lanes and footpaths about Oak- 
over and Ripley, crossing the stiles he had jumped so often in his 
boyhood, scanning the orchards and meadows, all so little altered, 
save that their dimensions had unaccountably decreased, Dolly 
felt too surely that the old love contracted insensibly in boyhood 
had grown to be a part of himself, that to tear it away was to 
deprive him of the best and noblest in his nature, that for his 
own sake it was far better to cherish it pure and loyal, even 
though hopeless and unreturned, than harden to the selfishness 
of cynicism, or sink in the mire of reckless indulgence and dissi- 
pation. He resolved, then, that he would at least continue her 
friend, that he would tell her so frankly and candidly the first 
time he had an opportunity, that he would rejoice in her happi- 
ness, and do ait in his power to increase its stability, even though 
the edifice should be reared on the ruins of his own. 

Then he shook himself free from the one ruling idea, raised 
his head, and walked on feeling, he knew not why, a happier 

" Old Grits." »Ct! 

and a better man. Following the well-remembered path to the 
Mill, and looking on the sluggish stream, the quiet fertile 
meadow, the orchard trees just coming into bud, he could hardly 
believe so many years had elapsed since he used to escape joyfully 
from Archer's pupil-room, and wander down here iu the soft 
spring weather, just like to-day, for a glance at the trimmers, a 
pot of mild ale, and a chat with old Grits. 

Was the miller alive ? He had barely time to ask himself that 
question ere he saw the old man in person leaning an arm on 
the half-door of his bolting-room, scanning the mtadows with a 
grim wrinkled frown just as he used to do all those years ago. 
It seemed as if he had never moved since Dolly saw him last. 

" How do you do, Mr. Draper ? " said the visitor, walking 
briskly up the garden-path between the fresh-dug beds. " I 
know you, but you don't know me." 

Old Grits gave an ominous grunt. " Like enough," he 
answered, " and may be I doesn't want to." 

"Look again," replied Dolly, no whit disconcerted ; "you had 
a better memory when I was here last. Come, Mr. Draper, 
now haven't you seen me before ? " 

The miller scanned him from head to foot, and Dolly could 
observe how the wrinkles had deepened under their thick coating 
of flour on the old man's face. His temper, too, seemed the 
rustier for age. After a prolonged stare he shook his head, ob- 
serving scornfully, " There's a fresh crop of fools comes up every 
seed-time. One more cr less makes small odds with spring 
drawing on." 

Dolly laughed outright, and something in his laugh recalled 
him to the old man's recollection. Wiping his hand sedulously 
on his trousers ere he proffered it, the miller opened the half- 
door and bade his guest step in. "Your servant, sir — your 
servant," he repeated nervously. " I know you now, I ask your 
pardon. You be one o' Mr. Archer's young gentlemen — the 
lusty un " (he had obviously forgotten his name). " Walk in ; 
sir — walk in. I be proud to see you, I thought you d a 
drawed down nigh a score more, though when you'd growed to 
be a man." 

This in a tone of mournful soliloquy, as of one disappointed, 
disheartened, but accepting such dis-illusions for the inevitable 
drawbacks of life. 

" I'm glad to see you looking so hearty," said Dolly, cheer- 
tYiily, v hile he seated himself in the well-known wooden 
chair, and filled a glass of the ale brought in by a red- 


*A The White Rose. 

cheeked, red-armed lass, as like the original Jane of carelegj 
memory as she could stare, which indeed she did to some purpose 
at the well-dressed visitor. " Here's your health, Mr. Draper, 
and long may you keep it. "Why, you're not a day older than 
when we used all to come down here for an afternoon's fishing 
after study. Ah ! how many years is that ago ? " 

Cunning Dolly was working round to his point. Old Draper's 
shaggy brows lowered, and his trembling hand jingled the ale- 
jug against the tip of his glass. " My service to you, sir," said 
he, setting it. down after but a modest sip. "Ah ! it's not so 
many years, maybe, but there's been great changes, great changes, 
up at Oakover, and down here at Ripley, since you and me lifted 
the trimmer with the seven-pound Jack on the night Mr. Van- 
delenr come by and took it home in his carriage. Yes, I 
remember of you now quite well, sir. Mr. Egremont, if I'm 
not mistaken. You was always a keen chap for the fishing, and 
now Squire's gone, and Madam, she do never come to the Hall. 
And there's them missed from the Mill down here as used to — 
as used to— well, as used to come in and out, merry enough and 
bright enough to thaw an anchor-frost 1 on the mill-wheel. Ah, 
young master ! if it's them as lives longest as learns most, it's 
them too as has most to forget. I do know as my memory's 
failing — I do sometimes wish he were gone for good and 

Dolly looked round the room to avoid the old man's eyes, in 
which tears were rising fast. On a table near the window he 
observed a woman's straw hat, a watering-pot, and a pair of 
gardening gloves. He almost started. Could it be possible that 
the very person whose death he had come here to ascertain was 
alive and merry in the house ? 

Old Grits followed his visitor's glance. " Theer they be," 
said he huskily, " and theer they'll bide till she come in at that 
theer door, or till I be carried out on it. They be ready for ye, 
my pretty, never fear, them wot you was alius used to weer, and 
well they became ye — more's the pity ! Ay, beauty's a snare 
maybe, but there wasn't such a one to look at not in a dozen 
parishes round. Look'ee here, Mr. Egremont — I mind your 
name now, sir — I've a been to their bow-meeting and what-not 
at Oakover, and see all the quality, ah ! for twenty mile and 

(l) Anchor-frost— a term peculiar to millers, signifying a degree of cold 
io intense as to clog with ice the mill-wheel below the water-surface. A 
metaphor apparently drawn from the idea that the river's bed is frozen ss 
hard, it could not hold an anchor. 

" Old Grits." 405 

more. If you'd taken and bolted of era nine times over, they'd 
never have looked more nor 'seconds ' by the side of my Fan. 
Yes ; you may come when you like, my pretty. It's all ready 
for you, and I got a new ribbon for your hat — was it last Ripley 
feast ? I don't well mind ; Lady-day comes round so often now, 
and never a blink of fair spring weather from year's end to 
year's end." 

It seemed obvious to Dolly that her father at least believed 
Mrs. Ainslie was still alive, and he could pursue his inquiries 
therefore with less circumspection. 

" I ought to have asked after my old friends when I sat 
down," said he; " 1 haven't forgotten any of them. Is it long, 
Mr. Draper, since you have heard from your daughter? " 

"Daughter!" exclaimed the miller, in a voice that shook 
painfully, notwithstanding the pitch to which it was raised. 
" Who told you as I'd got a daughter ? There were a little 
maid here long ago as used to play in and out o' that theer 
door, and hold on tight by Daddy's finger when us went to 
peep at the big wheel like on the sly. There were a likely lass, 
as I've been tellin' ye, what used to busk her gown and comb 
her long black hair in that theer room behind you, and come 
out singing till the whole place turned as merry as a christen- 
ing and as bright as a sunrise. The Lord's above all, and I've 
got two noble sons as lusty as yourself, Mr. Egremont, doing 
well in their business and honouring of their father. I ain't 
unthankful for it. But I've never had a daughter not since 
that day my Fan left me with a lie in her mouth, to go away 
with that slim chap as was a friend of yours, Mr. Egremont. 
You'll excuse me, sir; you was always a gentleman, you was, 
but don't let that chap and me ever come a-nigh. There'll be 
blood between us, there will! Ah! she alius used to write 
afore he come and tuk her forrin. I'll never believe as she'd 
forsake me of her own free will, like this here. Ah, little 
Fan, little Fan ! I'll not last long. Come back to me before 
I'm gone ! It's all ready for you. Come back whenever you've 
a mind ! " 

The miller fairly broke down, and hid his face in his hands. 
Dolly endeavoured to console him in vain. It was obviously 
impossible to obtain any information from the hurt, heart- 
broken father, and after a few common-place expressions of sym- 
pathy and condolence, Dolly thought the greatest kindness ha 
could do his host was to finish his beer and depart as promptly 
as he might. 

t66 The White Rose. 


"the little ked rover." 

It was not much past noon when Mr. Egremont turned his 
back on the Mill, a good deal disappointed with the result of 
his researches, intending to retrace his steps to Ripley Station, 
and take the first train for London. Obviously Draper was in 
his dotage, and no clear intelligence could be gained from that 
quarter. He had observed, too, while the old man rambled on 
about his daughter, an expression on the maid-servant's face 
that seemed to denote contempt and impatience, as though her 
master's hallucination were unquestionable, and of such frequent 
recurrence as to become wearisome. Altogether, Dolly felt 
puzzled on his friend's account, and began to relapse into low 
spirits on his own. Notwithstanding the quiet promise of the 
fresh spring day, life seemed darker than usual. Was it worth 
while to take so much trouble about matters which resolved them- 
selves, after all, into the vaguest uncertainties ? Everybody was 
fishing, but nobody ever seemed to catch anything. Reflecting 
on the habits and pursuits of his own acquaintances, he could 
not th:'.nk of one who sat down in peace, contented with his lot. 
Dandy Burton considered himself a model philosopher of the 
modern school ; but the Dandy, in spite of his training, could 
not conceal the habitual restlessness and anxiety in which he 
lived. Gerard Ainslie possessed everything in the world to 
make him happy, but here he was in hot water about Mrs. 
Vandeleur ! The poor old man at the Mill had nearly gone out 
of his mind for lack of his daughter} and he himself, Dolly 
Egremont, one of the most popular fellows in London, manager 
of the Accordion Theatre, with health, strength, a good con- 
science, and a balance at his banker's, detected a cloud before 
the sun ; because, forsooth, an ignorant young woman with a 
little red in her cheeks had of late betrayed her own want of 
common-sense in not appreciating him as he deserved. The 
malady from which this gentleman suffered has been compared 
with some propriety to fever and ague. Walking through the 
meadows by the river-side, he felt the cold fit coming on. 
Doing violence to his loyalty, he began even to depreciate 
Miss Tregunter's exterior j and this is a very virulent form of 
shiv<rs indeed. Was she so good-looking after all ? Nay, even 
granting her attractions, what was beauty itself at the best? — a 
mere anatomical arrangement, a combination of certain tissues 

" The Little Red Rover." 267 

and properties, simply disgusting when analysed and taken in 
detail ! Why should all the world be at sixes and sevens about 
these painted dolls, differing Irom a child's toy but in their 
powers of mischief ? Were not women a mistake? Should we 
not do better without them ? 

He laid his hand on a stile and vaulted into a wide grass- 
grown lane with high hedges on either side, and a few cart- 
tracks cutting deep into the soft elastic turf. In a twinkling — ■ 
his eye was quick or he would have missed it — in a twinkling, 
a small dark object, whisking out of the hedge twenty paces off, 
whisked back again, to steal along the bramble-covered ditch, 
and cross at an angle out of sight farther on. 

Dolly stood transfixed. " By Jove, it's a fox, and I've headed 
him!" he muttered below his breath; but his cynical reflec- 
tions, his morbid misgivings of a moment back, were all scat- 
tered to the winds. His head went up, his eye brightened, his 
whole frame quivered with keen excitement, he felt as you feel 
when the first whip's cap is up at the far end of the covert, and 
although the soft warm air be moist and still, the gorse is 
waving and seething like a sea in a storm beneath your favourite 
horse's nose. 

"That's a hunted fox," continued Dolly, when he had re- 
covered his astonishment ; " the hounds must be out to-day. 
I'll take my oath, by the way of him, he means business ! " 

Dolly was right ; the hounds were out, and the " little red 
rover" had been holding his own gallantly for the last twenty 
minutes, mostly over grass. There were eighteen couple on his 
line, twelve of which were workers, and the remaining six had 
better have been left at home. It may be the " little red rover" 
possessed some intuitive knowledge of the fact. It was not the 
first time he had been hunted by a good many since the days of 
his cubhood, when he used to catch field-mice, bouncing and 
gambolling like a kitten amongst the secluded lawns and green 
shrubbery-walks at Oakover; therefore, when he woke this morn- 
ing, bright, g!o!>sy, brown, and beautiful, to hear the loud crack of 
the warning hunting-whip, lest he should be chopped in covert, 
succeeded by the whimper of a puppy, the rate of a servant, and 
the attesting chorus of some twenty silvery tongues, he led his 
pursuers a gamesome dance round his stronghold, running his 
foil with considerable sagacity, till the peal of those vengeful 
voices subsided to a puzzled silence, when he made the best of 
his way straight across the adjacent meadows, with a quarter of 
a ruile start, a gallant spirit under his fur coat, and a firm cou- 

268 The White Rose. 

viction that he could reach Belton Beeches, six miles off as the 
crow flies, before they caught him. The " little red rover " 
was but one, and his enemies, amongst whom, I presume, he 
included none of the horsemen, were Legion j yet his heart, 
like his little body, was multum in parvo, tough, tameless, and 
as strong as brandy. " He's a straight-necked 'un I know," 
observed the first whip, well back in the saddle for an awkward 
ragged bullfinch, when he had halloaed the hounds away and 
got them fairly settled to the line. " If he don't mean the old 
drain at Mark's Close, he'll go straight to the Beeches. Forrard, 
Caroline ! come up, horse ! " The horse did come up, though 
with a scramble ; Caroline, somewhat shy of thundering hoofs, 
scored forward to her sisters ; and the keen ones, with the blood 
thrilling in their veins, made all the use of their horses they 
dared, feeling they were in for a run. 

"The little red rover" came stealing on, nevertheless, through 
the silence of the wide rush-grown pastures. Sheep scattered 
out of his way with considerable activity, rallying and forming 
gallantly enough when their enemy had passed, and doing 
their best for his assistance by crowding in on his very track. 
Grave oxen looked at him wistfully out of their meek brown 
eyes, and turned to graze again, till they heard the pack behind, 
when, abandoning all their usual dignity of deportment, they 
lowered their heads, kicked up their heels, blew smoke from 
their nostrils, stuck their ox-tails on end, and blundered about 
the fields as if they were mad. Countess and Caroline, Driver 
and Dairy-maid, Mar-plot, Melody, Marigold, and the rest, 
hunting steadily on through all impediments, now spreading 
and flinging themselves with the sagacity of experience, now 
bustling together and driving forward with the energy of instinct, 
came next in succession. After these the body of the pack — 
the parson of the parish, and a hard-riding cornet at home on 
leave ; then the huntsman, the first whip, nearly a quorum of 
magistrates, and those hounds that had better have been left at 
home, followed by horsemen who cross the fields, horsemen who 
stick to the roads, the boy on a pony, the man in a gig, the gipsy 
with his donkey, and the labourer who, shouldering his spade, ran 
after the vanishing turmoil to have his hunt too, as far as the 
nearest hedge. 

Of all these " the little red rover " was doing his best to make 
an example, and he met with less hindrance than might have 
been expected in his flight, Once, indeed, he found himseL' 
turned by a man at plough, and in the very next fiel i to tha 

" The Little Red Mover. ' 269 

agriculturist, ran almost into the jaws of a sheep-dog that had 
lost its master, and was sniffing round an out-house in discon- 
solate bewilderment. But the sheep-dog being young, "the little 
red rover " showed him such a sharp set of teeth, and so formi- 
dable a grin, as sent the poor frightened puppy scouring off at 
its utmost speed in a contrary direction ; and, but for the steadi- 
ness of old Bountiful, the dog, instead of the fox, would have 
been chased, and possibly run into, by her comrades, to the im- 
mortal disgrace of the pack. 

It was hard on " the little red rover " to be headed by Dolly 
Egremont, when he had come two-thirds of the distance to 
his haven ; but although the sight of a human figure in this un- 
frequented lane turned him for a score of yards or so, he daunt- 
lessly made his point after all. 

Dolly stood, I say, for a moment like a man transfixed. He 
was drawing his breath to holloa, when the light unfrequent 
notes of hounds running hard reached his ear. Three or four 
white objects dashed into the lane where the fox had entered, 
followed by a rushing cataract of comrades, and the whole, 
throwing their tongues eagerly, swarmed through the opposite 
fence, to check, as was but natural, in the field beyond. 

"Hark back!" shouted Dolly, in the best dog-language he 
could muster, tearing gloves and clothes with frantic plunges to 
scramble through the fence. 

" D n ye ! Hold your noise ! " exclaimed a voice from 

the far side of the other hedge, followed by the excited hunts- 
man himself, just escaping a fall, as he landed in the lane, with 
his horse hard held. 

" Your fox is back ! " protested Dolly, breathless with exer- 
tion and enthusiasm. 

" He's not ! He's forrard ! " replied the oth«r, never taking 
his eye off his hounds. They had cast themselves nobly, and hit 
off the true line once more. 

" Let em alone ! " he added, in a voice of thunder, to one of 
the whipswhowas alreadyacross the lane,prepared to interfere, and 
ramming the spurs into his horse, without vouchsafing a glance 
at Dolly, scrambled over the fence to gallop on, with just one 
twang of his horn, that he couldn't have resisted to save his life. 

The cornet, whose hat was stove in, and a hard-riding old 
gentleman who ought to have known better, followed in his 
wake. This succession of horses, already half-blown made such 
a hole in the hedge as enabled Dolly to pass through. Though 
gtout, he was no mean pedestrian j and on he ran at a splitting 

270 The IVhiie Rose. 

pace, keeping the hounds still in view, and intent only on seeing 
as much of the sport as he could. 

Now the man who hunts on foot has at least one advantage 
over him who hunts on horseback. The former can go so 
straight. A hog-backed stile and a foot-board, four feet odd of 
strong timber with a slippery take-off, are to him articles of 
positive refreshment and relief. Dolly found himself able to 
negotiate one or two such obstacles, when the boldest horsemen 
were compelled to make a circuit and find a gap. He ran on, 
accordingly, with great enjoyment to himself, for nearly half a 
mile, watching the decreasing pack as they fleeted like a flock 
of seagulls over the pastures, and the ^oremost riders, who had 
again overtaken and left him behind, dipping and bobbing at the 
fences, as if crossing a stiff country were the easiest pastime in 
the world. Most of the field, too, had now straggled by, 
affording him an opportunity of observing the caution with 
which the majority of mounted sportsmen follow their favourite 
amusement ; and after making a fruitless snatch at a loose 
horse, that deprived him of the little breath he had left, a deep 
turnip-field reduced the pedestrian first to a walk, then to a 

In this field, for reasons which will presently appear, I am 
forced to admit Dolly's vested interest in " the little red rover" 
ceased and determined for good and all ; but the true sportsman, 
unless he be a master of hounds or huntsman, will not regret to 
learn that after a capital thing of five-and-forty minutes, this 
game old fox saved life and brush by entering the main-earl h at 
Belton Beeches, just as the leading hounds crashed over the 
wattled fence that bounded the covert, and the hard-riding cornet 
with his horse " done to a turn," entered the adjoining enclosure 
on his head. Let us hope that "the little red rover" may 
lead them many a merry dance yet ere he fulfils his destiny, and 
dies a glorious death in the open, under the soft November sky 
Dolly, with his hand to his side, and the perspiration roiling 
down his nose, was making his way to the gate, when the tramp 
of a horse coming up at a canter through the turnips caused him 
to hurry on, without looking back, that he might open it as 
speedily as possible for this belated equestrian. His hand was 
already on the latch, the horse's nose was at his shoulder, when 
a voice that made him start in his mud-encumbered shoes, 
observed softly, — 

"Thank you, Mr. Egremont. It's impossible to catch then) 
now. I think it's no use my going any further," 

" The Little Red Rover." 271 

Dolly rubbed his eyes to be quite sure he was not dreaming, 
giving his hot brow the benefit of the action, and looked up in 
the speaker's face. 

"Miss Tregunter ! " he exclaimed, in accents of the utmost 
confusion. " Why, I thought you were in Italy ! What on earth 
are you doing here ? '' 

" Why, haven't I as good right to be here as you ? " answered 
the young lady, playfully. " Indeed, a better, if you come to 
that; for I believe this very field belongs to my uncle. Besides, 
I am out hunting, all in proper form, with a groom I can't find, 
and a horse I don't fancy. Ah ! if I'd had Tomboy to-day they 
wouldn't have slipped away from me like this ! though perhaps 
then I should not have seen you, and it is so long since we have 

Something in the tone of her voice sank very pleasantly in his 
ear. Her eyes were softer, her colour deeper, her manner more 
gentle than her wont. For a moment he forgot his misgivings, 
his resolutions, all the estrangement of the last few months, 
basking, as it were, in the glow of her presence, in the delight 
of looking once again on the face he loved so well. 

She saw she had lost nothing of her ascendancy, and, combined 
with her post of vantage in the saddle, this conviction, no 
doubt, gave her confidence to assume a levity she did not really 

"But how come you to be here? " she resumed} "and in such 
a ridiculous costume for hunting ? — umbrella, shiny boots, tall 
hat, go-to-meeting coat, and no horse ! You've not come back to 
poor old Archer as a private pupil, have you ? Mr. Egremont, 
give an account of yourself. What brought you to this part ot 
the country > " 

"I came down to find old Draper," answered straightforward 
Dolly, not observing a shade cross her brow, for she expected he 
had made the journey to look after somebody else. " I've seen 
him this morning, and was on my way back to the station, when 
I fell in with the hounds. I little thought I should meet you 
after wondering where you were for nearly six months ! " 

There was something of reproach in his tone, and it smote 
her to the heart. She felt that, if he really cared for her, she 
had been acting unkindly by him, and deserved to lose him 
altogether. It would be very difficult, she said to herself, to give 
him up. They had now arrived in the high road. He stopped 
as if to wish her good-bye before he took the direction of the 
-ailway station, and laid his hand on her horse's neck. 

a^i The White Rose. 

" I am going to London, Hiss Tregunter," said he. " Shall 
I ever see you again ? " 

The Accordion, the actresses, the American star, all his offences 
of omission and commission, faded from her mind. If he parted 
with her now, here by the sign-post, without any further expla- 
nation, would he ever come back again ? She trembled to think 
not. He, too, dreaded the farewell as conclusive. Neither knew 
the power each had over the other. 

Looking straight into the horizon, far beyond Belton Beeches, 
where the chase was at this very moment coming to an end, Miss 
Tregunter observed, in a faint voice, and with anything but the 
cordiality of a hospitable invitation, "Are you obliged to ga 
back by the two o'clock train ? Hadn't you better come on to 
Aunt Emily's, and have some luncheon after your run ? " 

Aunt Emily's, where Miss Tregunter was staying, could not 
have been less than four miles as the crow flies from the sign- 
post under which they stood, and more than twice that distance 
from the only station at which the up-train stopped. A more 
inconvenient arrangement for a traveller due in town the same 
evening can scarcely be imagined; nevertheless, this infatuated 
gentleman accepted the proposal with unconcealed delight, and 
in two seconds had turned his back on his destination, and was 
walking beside Miss Tregunter's horse with as light a step as if 
he had that moment emerged from bath and breakfast-room. 

They must have found a good deal to say, for they talked 
incessantly, and a man breaking stones on the road observed the 
lady's head bent down once, as if to whisper. This, I think, 
must have been at some important stage of the dialogue — 
perhaps when Dolly vowed to give up the Accordion Theatre, 
at the end of the present season, under certain conditions, which 
he urged with considerable warmth. It was a long four miles, 
I have already said, and over one of the worst roads in England. 
Yet when these wayfarers entered Aunt Emily's lodge gates, I 
believe neither would have had the slightest objection to begin 
the homeward journey over again. 



But Dolly was not one who suffered his own happiness, how- 
ever engrossing, to supplant the interests of his friend. Though 

"Immortelles." 273 

feeling he had done " good business/' as he called it, for himself 
in his trip down to Ripley, he also remembered he had in no 
way furthered those researches which were his primary object 
in leaving London. He had nothing to tell Gerard, except that 
old Draper seemed in complete ignorance of his daughter's fate. 
He racked his brain to think what engines he could set in 
motion for the discovery he wished to make, and in a moment 
of inspiration, while hailing a Hansom at the stage-door of the 
Accordion, it flashed across him that he had often heard extra- 
ordinary stories of the ingenuity displayed by French detectives 
in such difficulties as his own. He wondered he never thought 
of them before. Mrs. Ainslie had left her husband when 
abroad} that at least he knew, though he had forborne asking 
Gerard any further particulars of her flight. She had probably 
eloped with a foreigner, and must have spent at least some part 
of her life on the Continent. Why, of course, the French de- 
tective police, with its wonderful organisation, its mysterious intel- 
ligence, its extensive ramifications, and the unscrupulous manner 
in which it brought all these resources to bear on a given object, 
was the power to which he should have applied from the first. 
He began to consider how he could best put himself in commu- 
nication with this formidable institution. Thus meditating, 
he remembered making acquaintance, a few evenings before, 
with Monsieur le Comte Tourbillon, attached in some unde- 
fined capacity to the French Legation, and looking at his watch, 
directed his driver to start without delay for that stronghold of 
diplomatic ingenuity. 

It is, I presume, an indisputable fact that nobody ever gets 
his primary object effected by visiting a legation of any descrip- 
tion ; and Dolly felt scarcely dissatisfied — certainly not sur- 
prised — to learn from the politest of porters how Monsieur le 
Comte was absent from the Chancellerie at that instant, how 
he had not been there in the morning, and was not expected in 
the afternoon. He even thought himself fortunate in obtaining 
the Count's address over a perfumer's in Bond Street, and drove 
off once more on the track with a well-defined hope of running 
his quarry down in this sweet-smelling retreat. 

By good luck the Count had not yet left home when Dolly 
arrived, and, with the politeness of his nation, broke out at once 
into profuse acknowledgments of Mr. Egremont's civility, accom- 
panied by fervent protestations of assistance and good-will, when 
ns learned that his visitor had already been to the Legation in 
search of him. 

«74 The White Rose. 

" What is it?" said the Frenchman, pushing forward a roomy 
arm-chair, and reaching down from the chimney-piece a deep 
box of cigarettes, without which sedatives it seemed impossible 
any conversation, involving interests of the slightest importance, 
could be carried on. " I speak in English, you know, mon 
cher. I think in English ; I share your insular tastes and feel- 
ings; I begin my dinner with champagne. I rode a 'stipple- 
chase ' last autumn at Baden-Baden, — yes, very well. I back 
the favourite; I drive my team; I shoot my gr-r-rouse ! Figure 
to yourself that I am a veritable Briton — what you call true 
blue. Take one of these cigarettes; they are of all that is finest 
in tobacco. And now say, then, what can I do for you?" 

Dolly lit his cigarette, and observed thoughtfully between the 
whiffs, — 

" Your detective police, Count, is, I fancy, the best in 

The Count laid his finger to his nose as only a Frenchman 
can, while he replied dictatori-ally, — 

" For repression ? No ! For retribution — for finesse — for 
perseverance — for eventual discovery ? Yes — a hundred times 
'yes!' You remember that murder in the Rue Castiglione, 
and the number of suspected persons involved ? An apple- 
woman, a pensioner, a convict who had fulfilled his sentence, 
a Swiss governess, an English butler, the cripple who lived on 
the third-floor, a hospital nurse, the night porter, and a child 
ten years of age. It is true none of these were convicted, but 
our police arrested them all ! You have not forgotten the 
robbery of diamonds in open day from the shop of one Louvet, 
opposite the gardens of the Tuileries ? One brigand wedged 
the door, whilst his accomplice broke the window, and carried 
off a parure valued at eighty thousand francs. The shopman 
saw the man, the sentry at the garden-gate saw the man, six 
bystanders deposed on oath that they could identify the man, 
and pointed out the very house in which he took refuge. Well, 
our police hunted and hunted, like bloodhounds, till they ran 
him down at last ; but it was unfortunately in the Morgue, and 
I fear nobody ever knew what became of the diamonds. Then 
there was that atrocious and daring murder committed by the man 
in the blouse, close to the Barriere de l'Etoile, in presence of a 
hundred witnesses. The assassin walked up to an old gentleman 
who was a creditor for a sum of fifteen hundred francs, and shot 
him deliberately in the bosom with a pistol, which is at this 
moment in the hands of our police. Less than an hour elapsed 

"Immortelles." 375 

ere they were on his track. They arrested his mistress, lm 
blanchisseuse, the boy who blacked his boots. They took pos- 
session of his furniture, clothing, and effects; they traced him 
from Paris to Versailles, from Versailles back to Paris, thence 
to Chalons-sur-Marne, Strasbourg, and across the Rhine into 
Prussia. Back through Belgium to France, they were very close 
on him at the frontier, and a man answering his description in 
many particulars was taken, descending from the coupe of a 
first-class carriage, at Lille. Oh, they searched, par exemple, 
searched everywhere, I can tell you, my friend." 

The Count's cigarette was done. He paused in deep medi- 

" And they found him ?" exclaimed Dolly, interested in spite 
of himself in so long a chase. 

The Count stretched out his hand for a fresh cigarette, while 
he answered thoughtfully, in his own language, — 

" On ne l'a pas trouve, mais on le cherche toujours ! " 

Emboldened by so successful an issue, Dolly now begged the 
Count's good offices in obtaining the valuable assistance of this 
detective police for the object he had in view. 

" Comment ? Vous desirez done constater la mort de quel- 
qu'un," said the Count; "9a marche tout seul ! Nothing can 
be rr.ore simple. Is it indiscreet to ask particulars?" 

" Not the least," answered Dolly. " I have a friend who made 
an unhappy marriage." 

"That is very possible," observed the Count in parenthesis. 

" This friend," continued Dolly, " has for many years lost sight 
of his wife. In fact, she — she ran away from him. He has 
every reason to believe she is dead, but has no evidence of the 
fact. At present he is particularly anxious to obtain positive 

" Precisely," answered the Count ; " he wants to make another 
unhappy marriage. I perceive " 

Dolly smiled. " I hope they are not all unhappy," replied 
he, thinking of a certain walk by a lady on horseback not long 
ago. "But in the meantime, Count, we are most desirous of 
finding out whether or not my friend's has been dissolved by 
death. The lady eloped with a countryman of yours, more than 
ten years ago, at Homburg or Baden-Baden." 

The Count started. 

" Une Anglaise ! " he exclaimed eagerly. "Aux yeux bruns, 
aux cheveux noirs. Tres belle! Tresvive! La taille un peu forte ! 
Pardon, mm cho-r. Your story interests me, that is all." 

2](j The White Rose. 

Dolly stared. " You seem to know her/' said he. " And yet 
where you can ever have met Fanny Draper, I own, puzzles me 
not a little." 

"Fanni!" answered the Count. "C'est 9a! Fanchon; at 
least, I always called her Fanchon. My friend, you came to 
describe a person to me ! I will save you the trouble. Listen, I 
am going to tell you. Stop me if I am wrong. Fanchon was 
a brunette, very handsome for an Englishwoman. Pardon : that, 
you know, must mean very handsome indeed. She had dark 
eyes, white teeth, and a high colour. She dressed her black hair 
in masses low down her neck, and generally wore heavy gold 
earrings. She spoke French badly — very badly ; English with a 
tone, seductive enough, of your charming patois. She was rude 
to her husband, who looked younger than herself, and she had 
run away with him. Am I right ?" 

Dolly, whose eyes were getting rounder and rounder in sheer 
amazement, could but nod asseut. The Count proceeded in a 
tone of satisfaction, such as that with which a man works some 
beautiful problem m mathematics to a demonstration. 

"They lived in a small and modest apartment opposite the 
Kursaal when at Homburg, and the husband played heavily— 
neavily, that is, for him. He was a poor man, but his manners 
were better than his wife's. They lived irregularly — what we 
call in England, we others, ' from hand to mouth.' They were 
not happy in their menage. Tiens, my friend ! You need not 
trust to our detective police. I can give you all the information 
you require. This couple were in Paris in the spring of — voyons 
— the spring of 18 — . From Paris they went to Baden, from 
Baden to Homburg, and at Homburg the wife left her husband 
with a French nobleman. Would you like to know their name? 
Behold, I am not yet exhausted. It was Enslee, Enslee : is it 
not so ? Say, then, am I right ? Have I been telling you a true 
story or a fable?" 

" How did you learn all this ?" gasped Dolly, in the plenitude 
of his astonishment. 

The Count threw the end of his cigarette into the fire-place. 

"C'est tout simple!" said he, composedly, " Parbleu, c'est 
moi qui l'a enlevee!" 

The authority was unquestionable, but the situation a little 
puzzling. Dolly's first feelibg was the truly Anglican instinct 
which bade him consider this man the mortal enemy of his 
friend : his second, a more cosmopolitan reflection that the 
Frenchman had really conferred on Gerard Ainslie a very im» 

'* Immortelles. ' 2fJ 

jwrtant service. Altogether, he deemed it wise to make the best 

of his position and emulate the other's coolness. 

"And what became of her? " asked Dolly, in as indifferent a 
tone as if he had been talking about a cat or a canary. 

To increase his amazement, the Count's eyes filled with tears. 

"She died," he answered, in a voice broken by emotion, 
" Pity me, my friend ; she died, and I — I was not with her to 
arrest her last look, to catch her last sigh. This it is that excites 
my regret, my remorse. 'Tis true that she had left me — left 
me as she left her husband. The only difference was that she 
did not care for him, while to me she was devoted — yes, devoted! 
Many women have been in the same plight, I imagine, Egre- 
mont, but none I think more so than my poor Fanchon. Even 
at this distance of time I can recall the graceful pose in which 
she would stand at her window watching for my return, with 
her showers of light brown hair. Stay ! No; that could not be 
Madame Enslee — I am confusing her with some of the others. 
Pardon, my dear Egremont, these souvenirs of the heart are apt 
to distract a man in the head, and I have always been of an affec- 
tionate temperament, that is why I suffer. Oh ! I have suffered, 
I tell you, not only in this instance. Enough — to business. 
My most sacred feelings shall be repressed in the cause of my 
friend. You wish to constater the death of this Madame Enslee ? 
Is it not so ? " 

" I do indeed," answered Dolly, beginning, as he hoped, to see 
daylight on Gerard's behalf. " She died, you say. When ? 
where ? Are you sure of this ? How do you know ? " 

" 1 have seen her tomb ! " answered the Count, rising to his 
feet, and standing erect in the attitude of one who pronounces 
a funeral oration. "With trembling steps, with weeping eyes, 
handkerchief in hand, I visited the cemetery in which her sacred 
ashes repose. She lies at Brussels, my friend. From my diplo- 
matic station here, in your great country, I look towards La 
Eelgique, and my eyes fill with scalding tears, for I shall never 
see my sweet Fanchon again. Pardon my emotion, monsieur. 
You are a man of heart, a man of courage ; you will not despise 
my weakness. I dined at the Hotel de Flandresj I walked out 
in the peaceful sunset ; I traversed the cemetery ; I hung im- 
mortelles on my Fanchon s tomb; there were flowers growing 
round it, the walks were swept, and the grass new-mown. I 
recognised the attention of my friend, Prince Dolgoroukoff : he 
also was homme ae cceur. We travelled back to Paris together, 
and mingled our regrets. I am a philosopher. Quoi ! But phi- 

•&)8 The IVkite Row. 

losophy can only dominate, she cannot destroy. A.n, you satis- 
fied, Mr. Egremont? Bah ! Let us talk of other an airs. Let 
us dissipate these sombre memories. I go to make a little tour 
in the park. Do me the honour to accompany me. You excuse 
yourself j you have not time. It is my loss. Permettez, adieu, 
monsieur; ou plutot, au revoir! " 

So Dolly took his departure, puzzled not a little by the extra- 
ordinary confusion of feelings to which he had lately been a 
witness. His uninitiated palate revolted from this salmi of 
remorseful memories, habitual libertinism, and shameless de- 
pravity, spiced with a seasoning of false sentiment. Nevertheless, 
he felt he had so far obtained good news for Gerard, and went 
on his way rejoicing. 

It would have damped his satisfaction considerably could he 
have witnessed the cloud ot uncertainty that overspread his 
informant's countenance as the latter paused on the threshold 
of his apartment, gloved, hatted, a-nd equipped for a walk. 

"Tiens ! " said the Count, putting his hand to his forehead, 
and trying hard to unravel the entanglement of memories it 
contained. " Have I deceived myself after all ? Was it the 
English Fanchon whose grave I watered with my tears at 
Brussels, or that tall girl from Innspruck, or the Alsatian 
blonde? How stupid I am! Fanchon ! Fanchon ! It is a viV 
habit of mine to call every woman with whom I have relations 
by that endearing name. It is convenient at first, no doubt j 
but see what confusion it makes in the end. N'importe ! Fan- 
chon, or Finette, or Fleur-de-lis, or Feu-follet, it makes little 
difference ; the immortelles would have been withered by this 
time, all the same ! " 



Gerard Ainslie sat at breakfast in his cheerful room over- 
looking the park, with a bright spring sunshine pouring in on 
his white tablecloth, and the balmy air stealing through his 
open window to stir the broad sheet of his morning paper, 
propped against the coffee-pot. There was a tender quiver oi 
green leaves, a fragrance of opening buds and bursting vege- 
tation, pervading the world outside ; and within, for Gerard at 
least, late in life as it had come, the veritable spring-tide of the 

" Si/rgit Jinari." 479 

He was happy, this bright morning, so happy ! A kindfy, 
well-worded letter from Dolly, detailing the interview with 
Count Tourbillon, had been brought by his servant when he 
woke, and it seemed like the announcement of freedom to a 
prisoner for life., True, he had given more than one gentle 
thought to the memory of the woman who had loved him 
so recklessly, deceived him so cruelly ; but all sadder emotion 
was speedily swallowed up in the joyous reflection that now at 
last he might stretch his hand out for the White Rose, and 
take her home to his breast for evermore. What a world this 
seemed suddenly to have become ! How full of life and beauty 
everything had grown in the space of an hour ! He could 
scarcely believe in the listlessness of yesterday, or realise the 
dull weight of sorrow he had carried for so many years that 
he was accustomed tc its pressure, and only knew how grievous 
it had been now, wnen it was shaken off". He sat back in his 
arm-chair, absorbed in dreams of happiness. He felt so good, 
so considerate, so kindly, so thankful. How delightful, he thought, 
thus to be at peace with self, in favour with fortune, and in 
charity with all men ! 

His servant threw open the door and announced " Mr. 

I suppose since the fall of our first parents, there never was a 
Garden of Eden yet into which a serpent of some sort did not 
succeed in writhing himself soon or late, — never a rose in which, 
if you did but examine closely, you might not find an insect, 
possibly an earwig, at the core. 

Gerard, cheerfully and hospitably greeting his early visitor, 
little suspected how that gentleman was about to combine the 
amiable qualities of insect and reptile in his own person. 

"Breakfasted!" replied the Dandy, in answer to his host's 
inquiry. " Hours ago ! Been round the park since that, and 
half-way to Kensington. Fact is, my good fellow, I'm rest- 
less, I'm anxious, I'm troubled in my mind, and it s about 
you ! 

"About me!" said the other. "Don't distress yourself 
about me, Dandy. I've had a roughishtime of it, as you know, 
but I'm in smooth water at last. If you won't eat, I'll have 
the things taken away." 

"While a servant was in the room, Burton preserved an admir- 
able composure, enlarging pleasantly enough on those engrossing 
topics which make up the staple of everyday conversation. He 
touched on the political crisis the new remedy for gout, th'.i 


2&- The White RoSe. 

Two Thousand, the Derby, the jockey Club, the Accordion, 
and the American actress of whom everybody was talking : 
while Gerard listened with a vague, happy smile, not attending 
to a syllable, as he pictured to himself the White Rose moving 
gracefully through her morning room, amongst her flowers, and 
wondered how early he could call without exciting remarks 
from the household, or outraging the decencies of society. 

The moment the door closed, Burton s face assumed an ex- 
pression of deep and friendly concern. 

"Jerry," said he, "I didn't come here at early dawn only 
to tell you what ' the Man in the Street ' says. I've got some- 
thing very particular to talk to you about. Only — honour ! — 
it must go no farther than ourselves." 

Since they left Archer's years ago, he had not called Ainslie 
by the familiar boyish nickname. The latter responded at once. 

" Out with it, old fellow ! Is it anything I can do for you ?" 

Burton became perfectly saint-like in his candour. 

"You will be offended with me, I know," said he. "But a 
man ought not to shrink from doing his duty by him even at 
the risk of quarrelling with his friend. You and I are not mere 
acquaintances. If you saw me riding at a fence where you knew 
there was a gravel-pit on the other side, wouldn't you halloa to 
stop me?" 

Gerard conceded that he certainly would bid him "hold 
hard," marvelling to what this touching metaphor tended the 

" Jerry," continued his friend, with exceeding frankness, " I 
have reason to believe you are going to ride at a very blind place 
indeed. You shan't come to grief if I can help it ! " 

Ainslie laughed good-humouredly. " Show us the gravel- 
pit," said he. " I don't want to break my neck just yet, I can 
tell you." 

" You won't like it," answered the other. " It's about Mrs. 

Gerard rose and took two turns through the rocm. Then 
he stopped opposite Burton's chair, and asked stiffly, almost 
fiercely, — -" What about Mrs. Vandeleur ? Mind, 1 have known 
that lady a good many years. No man alive, not the oldest 
friend I have, shall say anything disrespectful of her in m/ 

The Dandy began to think he didn't quite like his job, but lie 
feai resolved to go through with it. 

" You make my task very difficult/' said he ; " and yet you 

" Surgit Amari" a8i 

must know, it is only in your interest I speak at all. Sit down, 
Ainslie, and let me assure you that the subject cannot be more 
painful to you than it is to me." 

Gerard sat down, took a paper-cutter from the writing- 
table, and began tapping it irritably against his teeth, while 
Burton watched him with about as much compunction as he 
might have felt for an oyster. 

He had no particular grudge against his old fellow-pupil, 
entertained no rabid sentiment of jealousy that the woman who 
had dismissed him so unceremoniously should be too favour- 
ably inclined towards the returned gold-digger, — but it was 
only through Gerard, as he believed, that he could crush the 
White Rose to the earth. Men have such different ways ot 
showing their attachment. The kindly, gallant spirit, the 
stuff of which a really brave heart is made, can continue 
loyal even under defeat, can sacrifice its own happiness un- 
grudgingly to hers, whom it loves better than self, and while 
writhing in its acutest sufferings, can obey the first instinct of 
pluck, and say, " I am not hurt." 

But the cur, howling under punishment, turns fiercely on 
the once caressing hand, tears and worries at the heart it cannot 
make its own, cruel as cowardly, seeks or creates a hundred 
opportunities to inflict the pain it feels. 

Burton hated Mrs. Vandeleur with a hatred that sprang from 
pique, disappointment, and a sense of conscious unworthiness 
discovered by one whom he had hoped to deceive. Therefore, 
he determined to be revenged. Therefore, he swore, in his 
own idiom, " to spoil her little game." Therefore, he stuck 
at no baseness, however unmanly, to detach her from the one 
person in the world who could have made her happy. 

But effectually to work out his plans, it was necessary to be 
on good terms with the enemy. He had written many notes, 
wearied a score of common friends, and submitted to much 
humiliation with this object. Now he began to see the fruit 
ripening he had been at such charges to bring to maturity. 

"It is not yet too late," said he, standing on the hearth-rug 
and gesticulating impressively with his umbrella, " for what I 
have to tell you. Had she been your wife^ of course I must 
have held rny tongue. Ainslie, the world says you are going to 
marry Mrs. Vandeleur. I don't ask you whether this is true} 
but you an'} I were boys together, and there is something 
you ought to know, which shall not be withheld by any foolish 
scruples of mine." 

a8a The White Rose 

Gerard felt his very lips shake. There was more at stake here 
than wealth, honour, life, but he steadied himself bravely, and 
bade the other " go on." 

" You have cared for this woman a great many years, I fancy," 
continued Burton, in grave, sympathising tones. "Believe me, 
from my soul I feel for you. But it is better you should be 
undeceived now than hereafter. Hang it ! old fellow," he added, 
brightening up, " they're all so, you may depend upon it. There 
never was one born worth breaking your heart about." 

With dry lips Gerard only answered, "You havs told me 
nothing yet. Speak out, man. I'm not a child." 

" She has made love to a great many fellows besides you, 
Jerry," said the Dandy. "Mind, I'm too old a bird to credit 
half or a quarter of the scandal I hear, but, at the same time, I 
cannot shut my eyes to what I see. Ask any man in London, if 
you don't believe me. You've not been in the world so much 
as I have; and besides, you re such a fierce, game sort of chap, 
people would be shy of telling you anything they thought you 
didn't like. It is only a true friend who dare take such liberties. 
I don't want to hurt your feelings. I don't want to blacken 
anybody's character ; but, Jerry, indeed this lady is not fit to be 
your wife. You wouldn't like to marry a woman that's been 
talked about." 

The paper-cutter broke short off in Ainslie's grasp. " Blacken ! 
Talked about ! " he exclaimed furiously; then, checking himself, 
added in a calmer tone, " I believe you mean kindly, Burton, 
but you have proved nothing even now." 

The latter opened his pocket-book, took from it three or four 
folded papers, smoothed them out methodically on the table, and 
observed — 

" I suppose you know Mrs. Vandeleur's hand-writing ? Look 
at those ! " 

They were receipts of recent date for large sums of money, 
paid, as it would seem, by Burton to Mrs. Vandeleur's account, 
and represented, indeed, the withdrawal of certain investments 
he had made, during their pecuniary confederacy, on her behalf. 
Gerard opened his eyes wide, as also his mouth, but common 
sense had not yet quite deserted him, and he pushed the papers 
back, observing — 

" I don't see what these have to do with the question. They 
refer, apparently, to some matter of business between — between 
Mrs. Vandeleur (he got the name out with difficulty) and your- 
self. It may or may not be a breach of confidence to show them, 

" Surglt Amari.' 283 

but — (and here he hesitated again) — but I don't suppose a man 
takes a receipt from a woman he cares for ! " 

" Confound the gold-digger! " thought Burton ; " where did 
he tret his knowledge of life ? " He turned a franker face than 
ever on his friend, and searched once more in the pocket-book. 

" You talk of breach of confidence," said he. " I am the last 
person in the world to betray a trust. But see the corner in 
which I am placed. Am I to keep faith with a woman to the 
destruction of my friend? Jerry, you are a man of honour. What 
would you do in my case ? " 

" I cannot advise you," answered the other in a faint voice, 
" and I cannot understand you. There seems to be something 
more to say. Let us get it over at once." 

He could not have endured his torture much linger. He was 
ready now for the coup de grace. 

From an inner flap of the pocket-book Burton produced a note 
in a lady's hand-writing, and tossed it to his friend. It had no 
envelope nor address, but there were Norah's free, bold cha- 
racters j there was Norah's monogram. The very paper was 
peculiar to Norah, and the scent she had used from childhood 
seemed to cling faintly about its folds. Gerard was steady enough 
now, and nerved himself to read every word bravely, as he would 
have read his death-warrant. 

It was the note Mrs. Vandeleur had written long ago to Jane 
Tregunter, about a fancy ball, and which Burton had abstracted 
from her writing-table. Every endearing term, every playful 
allusion, would equally have suited the hurried lines a lonely 
woman might send to the man she loved. The tears almost 
rose to his eyes while he thought what he would have given for 
such a production addressed to himself ; but that was all over 
now. It bad lasted for— how many years ? Never mind. It 
was all over now. He folded the note carefully in its former 
creases, and returned it to Burton, observing, very gravely — 

" You ought never to have shown such a letter as that to a 
living soul." 

" You are the last man wno should reproach me," retorted 
the Dandy, affecting to be much hurt, and feeling, indeed — such 
is the power of deception in the human mind — that his friend 
was not using him so well as he deserved ! " Perhaps I might 
have valued it more had I not known the writer's character so 
well. It would have been the worse for you. Good-bye, 
Gerard. I never expected your gratitude, and I came here pre- 
pared to lose your friendship, but I don't care. I have done 

a84 The White Rose. 

my duty, and some day you will confess you have judged mo 

So the Dandy walked out with all the honours of injured 
innocence, and Gerard sat him down, with his head bowed in his 
hands, numbed and stupefied, wondering vaguely how such things 
could be. 

Never before, ?.n any of his adventures, at any stage of his 
wanderings — in the crisis of danger, or the depth of privation- 
had he felt so utterly lost and desolate. Hitherto there had been 
at least a memory to console him. Now, even the Past was 
rubbed out, and with it everything was gone too. There was 
no hope left in life — no comfort to cheer — no prize to strive for 
• — no guerdon to gain. The promise had vanished from the 
future — the colour had faded out of nature — there was no more 
magic in the distance — no more warmth in the sunshine — no 
more glory in the day 



Man, having the gift of reason, shows himself, where his affec- 
tions are involved, perhaps the most unreasonable of living 
creatures. Corydon, offended with Phyllis, becomes, as far as 
she is concerned, a mere drivelling idiot, and a sulky one into 
the bargain. He may feed his bullocks, shear his sheep, plough 
his furrows, and thresh his wheat, with as much judgment as 
before their rupture, but nothing will persuade him to bring 
that good sense which he carries about over the farm, to bear 
on the reconciliation he desires. If he didn't plant them care- 
fully in drills, would he expect huge turnips to rain from heaven 
into his ox-troughs ? Wherefore, then, should he stand with 
his hands in his pockets, whistling a tune at the other end of the 
parish, when the object really next his heart is to carry the 
vixen off with him in a tax-cart to the fair? There is a certain 
element of self-conceit in the male animal, that he calls proper 
pride, forbidding him to tender the first advances, or even to 
meet his rustic beauty half way, and the result of such egotistical 
stupidity is deep sorrow to her, much vexation to himself, 
possibly a continued rupture that leads to the eventual unhap- 
piness of both. One tender word, even one kind look, in time, 
might have saved it all. 

" He Cometh Not." »8,$ 

Men deal hard measure to those they love. The better they 
love them, the harder the measure. Perhaps there is no injus- 
tice more cruel than to make a woman answerable for the 
slanders of which she is the innocent and unconscious object, 
nay, of which, in some cases, the man who visits on her his 
own vexation is the original cause. She has been imprudent, it 
may be, for his sake. The world is not slow in discovering such 
follies, nor averse to exposing them ; but it is hard that he for 
whom the risk was ventured yhould be the one to exact the 
penalty, that he, whose very hand has soiled the flower, should, 
therefore, leave it to droop and wither hi the shade. 

Gerard Ainslie, with a kindly nature and somewhat too sensi- 
tive a heart, had not one whit more of forbearance, not one 
grain more of good sense, than his neighbours. " Mrs. Vande- 
leur had been talked about — talked about ! " This was what 
he kept on repeating to himself till he had chafed and irritated 
the wound to a festering sore; the pure and gentle spirit he had 
elevated into an ideal of womanly perfection, was, then, a mere 
creature of common clay like the rest. His idol, that he thought 
so far above him, had been dragged through the mire like other 
men s. His love was no longer spotless— there were stains on 
the petals of the White Rose ! With masculine inconsistency, 
during those long years of sorrow and separation he had never 
been jealous of her husband, like this ! Talked about ! Very 
likely they were laughing over his infatuation and sneering her 
fair fame away, at that very moment, in the clubs. Talked 
about ! Perhaps even now some coxcomb was sitting by her in 
the well-known drawing-room, looking with bold insulting 
stare into those eyes of which his own could scarce sustain the 
lustre, plying her with the jargon of empty gallantry, nay, even 
making love to her, not unwelcome, in serious earnest ! 

And this was the woman so associated with the holiest and 
best part of his nature, that to him the very hem of her garment 
had been a sacred thing ; yet all the while she must have been a 
pastime for half the men in London ! A practised flirt; a mere 
faded coquette. Experienced, notorious, fast — good fun — and, 
talked about ! 

He walked up and down the room till he felt half mad. He 
made a thousand resolutions, and dismissed them all as soon as 
formed. He would order his hack, ride off to her at once, and 
overwhelm her with reproaches. He would never enter her 
house, nor speak to her, nor even set eyes on her again. He 
would rush into society, and throw himself everywhere in her 

t86 The ll'hile Rose. 

path, to cut her to the heart by the good-humoured condescen- 
sion of his greeting, the placid indifference of his manner. He 
would leave England for ever, and go where there was nothing 
to remind him of the hateful bewitching presence, the dear 
accursed face ! It rose on him, even while he thus resolved, in 
its pale thoughtful beauty, with the sweet sad smile, the deep, 
fond, haunting eyes, and then, I think, he tasted the very bitterest 
drop in the cup he had to drain. 

These sorrows are none the less grievous while they last, 
because they are sickly, unreal, shadowy, sentimental. Gerard 
Ainslie was very miserable indeed, enduring just as much torture as 
he could bear, and all because a man, in whose honesty he placed 
\ittle confidence, of whose intellect he entertained but a mean 
ppinion, had told him the woman he loved was talked about ! 

Nevertheless, the only one of his resolutions to which he did 
adhere was the unwise determination to avoid Mrs. Vandeleur. 
He refused sundry invitations, threw over several engagements, 
and kept out of her way with studious persistency, till he made 
her almost as wretched as himself. 

The White Rose began by wondering why he did not come 
to see her, as was, indeed, natural enough, when she recalled the 
tenour of their last few interviews. He must have been sum- 
moned out of town, she thought, on sudden business, perhaps 
connected with herself ; and this agreeable supposition caused 
her to wait with more patience than might have been expected j 
but when day after day passed by, and she kept her carriage 
standing at the door, in the vain hope that he might call before 
she went out, when hourly posts came in, and scores of notes in 
various shapes were delivered by footmen, commissioners, and 
messengers of every description, yet none arrived bearing a super- 
scription in Gerard's handwriting, she began to feel nervous, 
depressed, and sick at heart. 

Then she took to going out of an evening to such balls, 
dinners, or other gatherings as she thought it possible he might 
attend, and found herself, as usual, a welcome guest. The 
smartest ladies in London considered Mrs. Vandeleur an addi- 
tional ornament to the best filled drawing-room ; and amongst 
whole packs of cards ranged round the glass over her chimney- 
piece, she had only to select the invitations that pleased her best. 
She drove wearily round, therefore, from one to another of these 
crowded festivities, and each seemed more tiresome than its pre- 
decessor, because amongst all those vapid hundreds the only face 
she cared to look on escaped her still. 

"He Cometh Not." 287 

It is dreary woik to assist at such amusements when the mind 
is ill at ease, the heart far away. Keenly and bitterly the happi- 
ness of others brings before us our own sorrow ; and the very 
qualities of person and bearing we most admire, only remind us 
'he mere painfully of our own loved and lost, who would have 
shone so brightly here. The memory of the head is the most 
precious ingredient of human intellect, but surely it is wise to 
crush and stifle the memory of the heart. 

Mrs. Vandeleur thought more than once of consulting her 
staunch friend Dolly Egremont, but was deterred from this step 
by a variety of motives, amongst which that gentleman's con- 
tinual employment at his theatre, and intense preoccupation 
about M'ss Tregunter, were not the least urgent. She enter- 
tained, besides, the instinctive delicacy that scares a woman from 
the subject dearest to her, despite the relief she feels it would be 
to share her burden with another. Had she met him in society 
it is probable that her reserve would have given way, and all her 
sorrows been poured freely out, but Dolly Egremont found no 
time now for such frivolities as dinner-parties, dances, or concerts. 
Every moment he could spare from the Accordion was devoted 
to reconciling his lady-love to its exigencies, soothing her 
jealousy of the American actress lately arrived, and choosing 
costly articles for domestic use, shortly to become the property 
of both. 

So, after a deal of hesitation, and a certain petulant conviction 
that she could bear suspense no longer, Mrs. Vandeleur sat down 
to her writing-table, determined to hazard one frank, honest, and 
final appeal to her unaccountable lover by letter. How should 
she begin? She couldn't call him her "darling Gerard." It 
seemed so cold and formal to address him as " Dear Mr. Ainslie." 
She plunged into her task at once with a long line that reached 
right across the page. 

" What has happened ? How have I offended you ? Why have 
you never been near me ? Nay, why have you systematically 
avoided me almost since the day (it seems now to be years ago) 
that, I am not ashamed to confess, made me the happiest woman 
in London ? 1 need not go into the past. Heaven knows you 
cannot have reproached me as I have reproached myself. What- 
ever sorrows I may have to endure I deserve richly, and at your 
hands. Perhaps this is why I am so humble now. Perhaps this 
is why I am prompted to write you a letter that you will con- 
demn as forward, unwomanly, uncalled for. I cannot help it. 
I bcrm to have grown so reckless of late. Since I was quite a 

288 The iVhite Rose. 

girl everything has gone against me, and I thii.k I have nothing 
on earth to care for now. There are some things people can 
never forget. Oh, how 1 wish they could ! There were a few 
months of my life, long ago — don't you remember them, Gerard ? 
— in which I was really happy. How quickly they passed away 6 
and yet I have no right to repine, for I have lived that dear time 
over and over again, so often since ! If I were to tell you that 
my feelings have never altered since I was Norah Welby, 
keeping house for poor papa at Marston, you would not believe 
me, how could you ? and you would have a right to despise me 
for the avowal. I don't deserve to be believed. I do deserve to 
be despised. I have been so vile, so heartless, so false, and oh, 
so foolish. No punishment that I suffer can be greater than I 
ought to expect. And yet, Gerard, I am so very miserable. I 
blame nobody. I am sure I have behaved wickedly by you, and 
it is quite right 1 should be the sufferer, but can we not be 
friends ? Dear old friends, that's all. I have not too many, I 
assure you, and I prize the few I possess as they deserve. You 
need not shun me as if you hated my very sight. You were not 
at Lady Billesdon's last night, nor Mrs. Fulljam s the night 
before, nor at the Opera, and there was somebody I took for you 
in the stalls at the French play, but when he turned round it 
was a horrid man with an eye-glass. I was so disappointed I 
could have cried. 

" Gerard, I am used to disappointments now, though I don't 
think practice makes me bear them one bit better. Do not give 
me another when I entreat you to let us meet once more ; not 
here — I will never ask you to come here again, but anywhere, 
anywhere, in society — in the world — I only want to shake hands 
with you and know that I am forgiven. You will then feel 
that I am still, as always, 

" Your sincere friend, 


This rather incoherent production the White Rose sealed and 
stamped with exceeding care, hiding it thereafter within the 
folds of her dress somewhere beneath her chin, and resolving, for 
greater security, to drop it in a pillar-post-box with her own 
hands, though why the ordinary means of transmission should 
not have cerved her on the present occasion I am at a loss to 
explain. I think I can understand the reason she ordered her 
brougham some hours earlier than usual, and sent it round to 
meet her, wb'le^ still carrying the letter next to her skin, she 

" He Cometh Not." 189 

proceeded leisurely on foot to saunter through the quietest part 
of the park, whence nevertheless, herself unnoticed, she could 
obtain a view of the Ride and the equestrians who frequented it 
for their morning gallops. 

Of course, a personal interview with Gerard, especially if acci- 
dental, would be more dignified, and also more to the purpose 
than thus suing him in formd pauperis, as it were, by letter. 
Moreover, while the fresh spring air cooled her brow, and the 
gay enlivening scene, of which she herself constituted one of the 
fairest objects, raised her spirits, she began to think she might 
have been premature in her alarm, over-hasty in her conclusions. 
Supposing Gerard's secession was only accidental after all ; sup- 
posing he was at that very moment hurrying back to town, or 
should even call at her house while she was out and receive her 
letter when he returned home, why, what would he think of 
her ? How would he accept that last clause in it, tantamount to 
giving him up ? Would he take her at her word ? Not he ! 
Surely, after all those years, he must love her still. The con- 
viction stole into her senses like the soft spring air into her lungs, 
bringing with it warmth and vigour and vitality. If it was 
true, ought she not to punish him just a little for his late defec- 
tion ? She could not quite make up her mind about the letter. 
At last she determined to send it if she saw nothing of Gerard 
during her walk, feeling a vague sense of relief as though she 
had shifted responsibility from her own shoulders by thus wisely 
leaving the whole question to depend on the merest accident. 

By this time she had unconsciously drawn nearer the Ride, 
and now her heart leaped into her mouth, for this was surely Mr. 
Ainslie galloping up on a bay horse discontented with his bridle. 
The cavalier gave her as much attention as he could spare in 
passing, but resembled Gerard as little as a stout, well-dyed, well- 
strapped, well-made-up elderly gentleman ever does resemble an 
able-bodied, athletic, weather-browned man in the prime of life. 
She scowled at him with bitter hatred totally uncalled for, and 
rather hard upon a stranger whose sole offence consisted in not 
being somebody else. 

Two or three more disappointments, two oi' three hats 
flourished by men who knew that shapely figure well enough to 
recognise it at a hundred paces off, and Norah, with a heavy 
heart, and a certain weariness of gesture habitual to her when 
she was unhappy, bent her steps towards the gate at which she 
expected to find her carriage, resolving that, at least for to-day, 
tier chance was over. If in town^ surely on so fine a, morning 

290 The White Rose. 

lie would have been riding in the Park. Where could he be 
gone ? The morning was not half so fine now. Well, she would 
post her letter, she thought, because she had told herself she 
would, and so drive sadly home, not to stir out again during the 
rest of the day. 



But Mrs. Vandeleur did not post her letter after all ; certain 
unlooked-for circumstances, which will hereafter appear, having 
conspired to prevent this touching production ever reaching the 
hands for which it was intended. When the very box she meant 
to drop it into was cleared that morning, it disgorged a little 
note for Count Tourbillon, the delivery of which occasioned as 
much surprise as so imperturbable a gentleman was capable of 
feeling. It was short, couched in his own language, and written 
in a disguised hand, which might, as he told himself more than 
once, be the subterfuge of a lady, a lady's-maid, a bravo, a 
begging impostor — parbleu ! even an assassin ! It simply prayed 
him to render himself at a certain spot in Kensington Gardens, 
as near twelve o'clock as he conveniently could, where a person 
would be awaiting him ; that person might easily be distinguished 
as holding the envelope of a letter in the left hand. The rendez- 
vous, it must be well understood, was an affair, not of gallantry, 
but of business. It was to ask of the Count an important 
favour j but one which nevertheless it was impossible he could 
refuse. Finally, the matter in question had nothing to do with 
love or money, and affected him in no way personally ; there- 
fore it implored him, as a true gentleman, not to disappoint the 

Count Tourbillon propped this little missive against his 
looking-glass, and studied it throughout the whole of his 
morning-toilet, continuing his reflections during the consump- 
tion of at least half-a-dozen cigarettes. Finally, arming himself 
with the indispensable umbrella, he sallied forth, resolved to 
penetrate this mystery, of which the most incomprehensible fold 
seemed to be that it depended in no way on his own attractions 
of appearance or conversation. 

Few men have a sufficiently clear account with conscience tci 
receive an anonymous letter unhaunted by some shadowy mis- 
givings that one of their old half-forgotten iniquities has over- 

Double Acrostics. 20 I 

taken them at last. " Raro antecedentetn scelestum," says 
Horace, as though he were actually ouoting the Scriptural 
warning, " Be sure your sin will find you out." Along im- 
punity makes men very bold, but even the most audacious 
cannot divest themselves of a vague, uncomfortable foreboding, 
that though the sky be still bright, a cloud is even now behind 
the hill ; though they are yet untouched, the Avenger is even 
now bending his bow in the thicket, his shaft perhaps already 
singing and quivering through the calm air towards its mark. 

liy preference, by temperament, by education, Tourbillon was 
" tres-philosophe," a free-thinker, a doubter, a casuist, an esprit 
fort, and a viveur. Turned loose at sixteen into high French 
society — the best school for manners, the worst for morals, in 
the world — he would have laughed to scorn any feeble-minded 
Mentor who should have propounded to him the possibility that 
pleasure might not be the summum bonum of existence ; that on 
analysing the great desideratum, the mood we are all aiming at 
— call it happiness, self-approval, repose, comfort, what you will 
■ — a certain property named "duty "might be found to consti- 
tute four-fifths of the wished-for whole, and that perhaps the 
honest health and strength of a bargeman or a coal-porter might 
fill up the remainder. Tourbillon, I say, would have scorned 
8uch a moralist as a well-meaning imbecile, and bade him take 
his trash elsewhere, with a little less than his usual cold suavity of 
deportment, because that the man within the man could not 
but feel chafed and irritated by the horse-hair garment of Truth, 
wearing through the velvet folds of Falsehood and Self-indulgence 
with which he was enwrapped. 

Few people owed a longer score for peccadilloes, vices, ever 
crimes, than this pleasant, plausible Parisian ; that he had not 
the guilt of murder on his soul was owing to the merest acci- 
dent. It was no fault of his, as he told himself sometimes 
without a shudder, that he did not shoot Alphonse de Courcy 
through the head when they fought about a game of dominoes 
at Trieste, the Austrian officer who seconded him smoked as 
only Austnans can smoke, or his hand had been steadier than to 
shake those few extra grains of powder into the pistol, which 
caused it to throw an inch too high, and spoil De Courcy 's hat 
instead of piercing that youth through the cavity in which he 
was supposed to keep his brains. Most of the other sins for- 
bidden by the Decalogue, I fear, Tourbillon had committed 
without scruple. Perhaps he never bore false witness : cer- 
tainly never stole ; but, en revanche, all the rest of his duty 

2Q2 The White Rose. 

towards his neighbour, and especially towards his neighbour's 
wife, had been neglected and perverted from the day he first 
entered a salon in kid gloves and a tail-coat. 

There are hundreds of such men about. Our own country is 
not without its share. People, good people, ask them to their 
houses, introduce them to their wives and daughters, shrug their 
shoulders when the antecedents of these guests are discussed, or 
observe forbearingly, "Wild, I fancy, formerly, and in one or 
two serious scrapes ; but all that was abroad, you know, and 
one is justified in ignoring it. Besides, such an agreeable, well- 
informed fellow, and a thorough man of the world." 

There is a vast deal of charity, you see, amongst our fellow- 
creatures — both that which consists in the giving of alms, or 
rather dinners, to those who are not in need, and of that which 
covers or excuses a multitude of sins, provided always the 
sinners be agreeable people of the stronger sex. Let a woman 
— the victim, we will say, of one of these pleasant diners-out — 
who has been led by her softer nature into the commission of a 
single fault, throw herself on the mercy of this same generous, 
allowance-making society, and she will find she might as well 
have thrown herself from the roof of a London en the 
area railings in the street below. 

"Arthur! Arthur! is there no forgiveness?" groaned re- 
morseful Launcelot from the depths of his longing, wayward, 
false, yet generous heart, while he sat in his mailed saddle, an 
unwilling rebel to the lord he had so cruelly wronged, and stilt 
so dearly loved. Since that good knight — the flower of hrpvery 
— repented him too late, how many a tender voice has ser,t up 
the same despairing cry in vain ! how many a lonely sorrowing 
woman, eager but to prove the sincerity of her repentance, hai 
wailed in agony for forgiveness on earth, which will only be 
granted her in heaven ! 

Count Tourbillon, I need scarcely say, was the last perso 
distress himself either by regrets for the past or apprehension 
the future. Swallowing a qualm or two, as certain visions o 
boy who knew no harm, walking at his mother's side in t 
gardens of a chateau by the Garonne, rose to his mind's eye, an 
reflecting that he was as well able to pull through z difficulty, 
and hold his own now, as he had ever been in his life, the Count 
amused himself by speculating en the approaching interview, 
wondering of what nature a rendezvous could possibly be, iu 
which the object was avowedly neither love nor war — an ap- 
pointment made neither by an admirer nor an adversary. "It 

Double Acrosllcs. 293 

JS droll," said he. "Let us reflect a little. My faith! it is of 
those things which break the head to think about." 

He broke his head thinking about it nevertheless, the whole 
way from Hyde Park Corner to the gate of Kensington Gardens. 
Each of the many faces he had loved and betrayed rose in sue* 
cession to remind him of his vows, to reproach him with his 
perfidy, and, face by face, he dismissed them all without a sigh 
of pity, a twinge of remorse. He had not even the grace to 
wish he could undo the past, nor to persuade himself he would 
act differently if he had his time to come over again. Once 
only, amongst a score of others who had made a deeper im- 
pression on his fancy, he thought of Fanny Ainslie ; but it was 
with a smile of amusement as he recalled her vivacious gestures, 
her quick temper, and her broken French. 

Perhaps in all that phalanx of outraged beauty there might 
be one memory to avenge the cause of her injured sisters, one 
Donna Anna, that this French Giovanni could not quite forget, 
one lovely phantom to spoil his rest, like her who haunted the 
couch of false Sextus — 

-'A woman fair and stately, 
But pale as are the dead, 
Who through the watches of the night 
Sate spinning by his bed. 

" A Tid as she plied the distaff, 
W a sweet voice and low, 
Shi sang of great old houses, 
Av\d fights fought long ago. 

" So span she, and so sang she, 
Until the East was grey, 
Then pointed to her bleeding heart, 
And shrieked, and fled away." 

If so, he stifled her as resolutely as Othello, and with far less 
compunction. He bade her go back to her place of torment 
with the others ; he could not attend to her now; he had newer 
matters on hand. Here he was, already at Kensington Gardens, 
and not a soul in sight but a gate-keeper in a long green coat 
and a hat with a gold-lace band. 

It was a sweet May morning ; nowhere sweeter and pleasanter 
than in grassy, shady, cockney Kensington Gardens. Being a 
first assignation, at least for aught he knew to the contrary, 
the Count was, therefore, a little before his time — just as he 
would have been for a duel. Also, as before a duel, he pro- 
ceeded to wile away the interval by smoking a cigar, enjoying 

494 The White Rose. 

the warmth of the sunshine, the purity of the air, the freshness 
of the early verdure, as keenly as if he had been a combination 
of Wordsworth and Howard, poet and philanthropist. I cannot 
help thinking there are a certain proportion of men born with- 
out consciences at all. It is not that they commit sinj all of us 
do that j but their enormities seem to burden them neither with 
anxiety nor remorse. They do not fidget beforehand, they make 
no resolutions of amendment afterwards j they travel on the 
broad gauge, so to speak, in first-class carriages, with easy 
springs, cushioned seats, and a supreme indifference to their 
destination. They are more plentiful in France than in Eng- 
land, and Count Tourbillon was a very perfect specimen of the 

Smoking, then, in placid content under a young horse-chest- 
nut, he watched with half-indulgent, half-cynical smiles, the 
usual business, amatory and otherwise, of this suburban resort, 
waking into its daily life. The first figure to intrude on his 
solitude was a foot-guardsman carrying a clothes-basket, followed 
by a dingy-looking woman, talking, perhaps scolding, with con- 
siderable energy. The soldier plodded on inattentive, as one 
accustomed to the sounds. "Husband and wife!" said the 
Count to his cigar, with a shrug of the shoulders. " My faith, 
how badly it seems always to arrange itself, even amongst the 
canaille. Hold, here is something more interesting! " 

A very pretty girl, with all the outward appliances of wealth, 
all those subdued graces of gesture which seem only acquired 
by the constant habit of living in society, was walking by the 
side of an invalid-chair with the head up, and a man in livery 
pushing it behind. Her neat boots, her well-gloved hands, her 
golden chignon, her beads, her bracelets, her draperies, all were 
■point device, and denoted not only birth and breeding, but 
enough of fashion to make the Count wonder he did not know 
her by sight. She bent over the chair so affectionately, seemed 
so engrossed with its inmate, that Tourbillon felt positively 
interested, and moved several paces from his station for a 
nearer inspection of her companion ; probably, he told himself, 
some handsome young lover disabled by a wound or an accident. 
Bah ! the young lover was an old lady of fourscore, in a close 
bonnet and tortoise-shell spectacles, with trembling hands in 
long-fingered gloves, and a poor, shaking, palsied head, that 
turned like the sunflower to the bright young beauty, who was 
indeed, the light of its declining day. 

" There are illusions," said the Count, replacing the V'gz ,. 

Double Acrostics. 495 

had Kiken respectfully from his lips, "and there must of conse- 
quence be disillusions to counteract them ! Such is the equi- 
poise of existence. I wish my doubtful correspondent would 
appear with the envelope in his, her, its, left hand. It seems 
I am here in faction, with but a vague prospect of relief. 
Patience, "' a la guerre, comme a la guerre ! " 

Once more Tourbillon resigned himself to his vigil, which 
was getting rather wearisome, despite such interludes as a 
dripping water-dog shaking itself against his trousers, two little 
girls running their hoops simultaneously between his legs, and 
a petition from an incoherent slattern, apparently just out 01 
an Asylum for Females of Weak Intellect, that he would be so 
good as to put her in the direct road to St. Pancras. He looked 
at his watch. It was scarcely twelve yet. He would make a 
jittle tour, he thought, to kill time, and so return to the 
appointed spot. He walked half-a-dozen paces, rounded the 
huge smoke-blackened stem of a great elm-tree, and found him- 
self, as he expressed it, "nose to nose" with Mr. Egremont. 
A bystander, had there been one, must have detected that the 
meeting was exceedingly mal-a-propos, they were so glad to see 
each other ! Dolly, blushing violently, shook the Count's hand 
as if he wero the dearest friend in the world. " How was 
Tourbillon ? He had not met him for ages. What had he 
been about ? He had never thanked him enough for his kind- 
ness on a late occasion — and — had he been quite well since he 
saw him last ? " 

The Count looked amused. Here was, indeed, something to 
kill time, not that he had any ill-nature about him, but that it 
was better fun to keep Dolly in a fidget tlian to smoke by him- 
self till his correspondent arrived. That Dolly was in a fidget 
only became too obvious every moment. He glanced anxiously 
about, his colour went and came, he laughed nervously, and 
asked irrelevant questions without waiting for their answers. 
If the Count suspected the truth it was cruel Vhus to prolong 
the torture, but like a fish unskilfully played, that at last, with 
one desperate effort, snaps your line and makes orTto sea, Dolly, 
catching a glimpse of a well-known parasol, surmounting a well- 
known figure, broke from his tormentor with the courage ot 

He had persuaded Miss Tregunter, not without difficulty, to 
take an early walk with him in these pleasant retreats. Tbey 
were engaged, but their engagement had not yet been given 
out, so they agreed to be abroad eaTly, before the gossiping 

m v 

2Q6 The White Rose. 

public were about. It never entered the calculations of eilhel 
that they would meet such a worldly spirit as Tourbillon in 
their new-found paradise. 

A first tete-a-tete with the lady who has imposed on you a 
first pressure of her hand, a first avowal from her lips, and its 
ratification thereon, a first appointment to meet her, a first 
walk with her in Kew, Kensington, or any other garden of 
Eden, is a thing to enjoy while it lasts, to remember softly and 
kindly when it has passed away, but certainly not to be cur- 
tailed nor interrupted by an unsympathising idler whom it 
requires only a little moral courage to shake off. Dolly, there- 
fore, seeing the wished-for figure in the distance amongst the 
trees, looked his captor boldly in the face, masking any bashful- 
ness he might feel with a certain quaintness of manner that was 
natural to him. 

" I cannot stay now, Count," said he, " not another moment. 
But I often come here, and will meet you if you like at the 
same time to-morrow." 

"Ah! you come often here," repeated the Count, laughing. 
" So do not I. Tell me then, Monsieur Egremont, what do 
you find so attractive in such a solitary place? " 

" I come here to make ' double acrostics ! ' " answered Dolly, 
unblushingly. "They require undivided attention, and I can't 
do them if I am disturbed." 

Tourbillon clapped him on the shoulder, laughing heartily. 
" Good ! " said he, " mon brave ! Success to your double acros- 
tics. I shall not try to find out their answers. But, trust me, 
my friend, you will compose them all the better for a little 
assistance. Your English proverb says, you know, ' two hearts, 
two heads,' what is it ? ' are better than one ! ' I make you my 
compliments, and I leave you to find out its truth." " 



Tourbillon looked wistfully after the retreating couple as they 
disappeared amongst the trees. For a moment he could have 
envied Mr. Egremont and Miss Tregunter their open, above 
board, and avowed attachment. Only for a moment, soon re 
fleeting that such matters were quite out of his line, that I14 
^vas totally unfittexj for the flat sameness of domestic life^ that 

The Star of the West. 297 

the only sort of woman, half devil, half coquette, who could 
hope to interest him now, was the last he would wish to place 
beside him in his home, and that he was actually here at this spot 
but in accordance with that evil spirit which made novelty, 
mystery, and intrigue the daily bread of his existence. 

A rather stout, showy-looking lady, dressed in black, came 
rapidly along the broad gravel walk, and when she approached 
the Count, disclosed, as if p^posely, the envelope of a letter in 
her left hand. The Frenchman s eye brightened, his languor 
vanished in an instant. The hawk in her swoop, the leopard in 
his lair, the wolf on the slot, every beast of prey wakes into 
energy when its quarry comes in sight. Tourbillon took his hat 
off without hesitation, and wished her "Good morning," as if 
he had known her all his life. 

" Madame has been most gracious in according me this inter- 
view," said he. "I have now to learn how I can be of service 
to Madame." 

He tried hard to see her face, but a couple of black veils 
drawn tight, concealed the features as effectually as could any 
riding mask of the last century. His quick perceptions, how- 
ever, took in at once that her figure was remarkably good, that 
she was exceedingly well-dressed, and that the jewellery, of which 
she wore a good deal, though very magnificent, was in perfect 

Her handkerchief too, and this with a gentleman of Tour- 
billon s experience counted for something, was trimmed with an 
edging of broad and delicate lace. 

"A lady," thought the Count, "no doubt. Not quite a 
grande dame, but still a person of position. Who can she be, 
and where can she have seen me before ? " 

He made no question, notwithstanding the protestations in her 
note, that this was a fresh conquest ; assuming, therefore, his 
pleasantest manner and his sweetest smile; but the bright face 
clouded, the comely cheek turned white with the first tones of 
her voice, while she replied — 

" I know Count Tourbillon well. I think he cannot have 
forgotten me. I am sure he will not deny that I have a right 
to a.->k of him any favour I please." 

He could only gasp out, " Fanchon ! Madame Enslee ! Just 
Heaven ! And I thought you were dead ! " 

" It would have made little difference to you if I had been, 1 ' 
Bne answered, perfectly unmoved, but not without a touch of 
scorn. " It need make no difference to you now. Countj I did 

»9& The White Rote. 

not come here to talk about yourself, but about somebody whose 
boots you were never fit to black. I speak pretty plair. I've 
come from the side of the water where people say what they 
mean, and give it mouth too." 

" You did not think so once," he broke in angrily; and then 
growing conscious that the position was false, even ridiculous, 
continued more temperately — " We all make mistakes, Madame 
This is a world of mistakes. I cannot see that it is the interest 
of either to injure the other. Circumstances conspired against 
us, but my feelings towards you have ever remained the 

"I car;, easily btOitve it," she answered bitterly. "There was 
no love lost, Count, you may take your oath. I told you mat, 
pretty smart, in the letter I left on my dressing-table at Milan. 
You used to laugh at my French, but you understood every word 
of those six lines, I'll be bound. Short and sweet, wasn't it ? 
And what I said then 1 mean now." 

" Your French, like everything about you, was always charm- 
ing," he replied gallantly. " Shall we sit down a little apart 
from the public walk ? Your appearance, Madame, is sufficiently 
attractive to command attention anywhere." 

" I'm sure if I'm not ashamed of my company you needn't 
be," said the lady, moving to a less conspicuous spot, nevertheless, 
and lifting her double veil, that she might converse more freely. 
" I've not much to say, and I shouldn't care if the whole world 
saw you and me together; but I don't want to be overheard, 
all the same." 

Just the old petulant, wilful, off-hand manner, he thought j 
the old self-scorn, the old want of tact, refinement, and good- 
breeding. Looking into her face, too, he could still recognise 
much of the bright, comely beauty that had so captivated his 
fancy for a few weeks many years ago. It was coarser now, 
indeed; bolder, harder, and what people call overblown ; but, 
notwithstanding her life of change, sorrow, excitement, and 
adventure, the miller's daughter was a handsome, striking-look- 
ing woman, even yet. 

You have already learned by Tourbillon s exclamation of 
astonishment that it was no other than Fanny Draper, or rather 
Mrs. Ainslie, who thus sat by his side in Kensington Gardens, 
whom he had never seen since she left him in a fit of anger, 
disgust, and passionate repentance, some two months after lier 
desert-' on of Gerard, and whose subsequent career— extending 
over',, good amy years — would itself have filled a three-voluma 

The Star of the West. 499 

novel, in scrapes, situations, ups-and-downs, success, disap- 
pointment, and retribution. 

Thrown on Ikv . -wii resources when she quitted the Count at 
Milan, Fanny determined to return home at once and try her 
fortune on the English stage. It was a profession, to which she 
was specially adapted by nature, and in which her mobility of 
feature and peculiar style of beauty afforded great advantages, 
She had not forgotten Mr. BrufTs flattering estimate of her 
histrionic powers, nor the lessons he had given her in the 
humble country-town, to which she even now looked back a? 
to her one glimpse of paradise on earth. She avoided Ripley, 
and never went near her father, but plunged hastily into 
London, and, converting the few jewels she had brought with 
her into ready-money, got an engagement to dance in a minor 
theatre at eighteen shillings a week, and so put her foot on the 
lowest round of a ladder in which the topmost seemed hope- 
lessly out of reach. It was the old story. Fanny Draper — or 
Miss Douglas, as she called herself — was fortunate enough to hit 
that combination of three properties which alone ensure suc- 
cess; these are, confidence, ability, and opportunity. Of the 
two first she possessed more than her share, and the last she 
owed to the sudden illness of a dashing young lady with beauti- 
ful legs, who enacted the leading character in an extravaganza 
of which Fanny constituted a mere humble item in tights and 
spangles. Miss Douglas, on this fortunate occasion, advanced 
boldly to the rescue, accepted the part at an hour's notice, and 
was recognised as a star by the infallible criticism of a crowded 
gallery the moment she came to the footlights. Her legs were 
quite equal to the absentee's, her beauty infinitely superior, 
while her acting, as even the manager admitted, really was 
something like acting, and he increased her salary forthwith. She 
left him, nevertheless, at the end of his season, for a far better 
engagement, and the following year saw her starring it in the 
country and making five or six pounds a week. A break then 
occurred in Miss Douglas's career until she appeared again, as a 
Mrs. St. Germyn, at Liverpool, to take her benefit on the eve 
of a continental tour. Under different names she continued 
to perform at divers French theatres, in Russia, Prussia, and 
Austria, covering her deficiencies of accent and pronunciation 
with an espieglcrie of manner that a foreign audience found 
irresistible, till, finally, being heard of as Madame Molinara, 
the great stage celebrity of New York, she was imported by 
indefatig.ible Dolly Egremont to retrieve a waning reputa- 

306 The White Ros6, 

tion and replenish an exhausted cash-box for his Accordion 

Madame Molinara had not passed through so many vicissi- 
tudes without adding good store of experience to the mother- 
wit, of which she enjoyed her full share, and she certainly did 
not put too low a price upon her talents. After a correspond- 
ence that nearly drove Dolly wild in its progress, and a stormy 
passage across the Atlantic highly conducive to health when 
it was over, behold the celebrated American actress, safely 
arrived in London, engaged at an exorbitant price to take the 
leading part in a melodrama written by the husband from 
whom she had been separated for more years than she liked to 

" It is itself •*£ good as a play," said she, after detailing, in as 
few words as possible, the above information for the benefit of 
the attentive Count, who disappointed her, it must be admitted, 
by evincing so little surprise at the most startling points of her 
narrative. " They do say, Truth is stranger than Fiction ; I'm 
sure, in my case, Romance whips Reality. And now to think of 
my sitting alongside of you, under an English elm. Dear, dear! 
what beautiful elms there was used to stand in the park at 
Oakover ! Why, that loafer there with a spaniel dog might 
almost realise we were two lovers taking a spell of courting. 
Well, well! We've all been fools in our day; but live and 
learn is my motto ! And now, Count, what d'ye think made 
me write you that little note last night before I went to bed? 
Ah ! you wouldn't guess from July to eternity. You're as sly 
as a 'possum : I know that of old; but I've fixed you there, I 
estimate. It's not often you get a Frenchman up a tree in what 
you was used to call — excuse my laughing— to call an affair of 
the heart." 

Tourbillon was at a nonplus. What could she be driving at, 
this hard, bold woman — with her hateful Americanisms and her 
loud, coarse mirth ? He felt confused, puzzled, even a little 
ashamed, to be thus taken aback. As before zn armed adversary 
he would have fallen "on guard" by instinct, so with a feminine 
foe he unconsciously assumed those tactics that came most natural 
to him in dealing with the gentler and subtler sex. He must 
make love to her, he thought, de rigueur; must warm up the 
sentiments, never very palatable, that had stood cold so long, 
and compound the best dish he could of the hash. She expected 
it, of course, or why was she there? With a practised glance 
from his bright black eyes, of which he knew the power as wel] 

The Star of the West. $01 

as the most finished coquette who ever wore petticoats, he took 
his companion's hand, and whispered softly : — 

" You wrote to me, Fanchon. Yes, I call you Fanchon to- 
day, as I have called you by that endearing name for years, in 
my sorrows, in my solitude, in my dreams. You sent for me 
because your heart, like mine, cannot quite forget. Because, 
like mine, it pines to resume once more the only true affection 
it has ever known. Because, in fine, we return after all our 
wanderings to our first attachments ; and — and — though you 
would not trust your address to the chances of a letter, you will 
confide it to me now, and we shall speedily meet again." 

She laughed once more j heartily this time, and with such real 
enjoyment as convinced even Tourbillon's vanity, that whatever 
motives led her to seek this interview, affection for himself had 
nothing to do with them. 

" You whip creation, Count !" she said, wiping her eyes with 
the richly-laced handkerchief. " You do, indeed ! Such cheek 
as yours was never so much as heard of out of Paris. You carry 
on with so good a face too. Solemn enough to stop a clock ! 
They spoiled a second Liston when they made you an attache, 
or an ambassador, or whatever you are. I don't know whether 
you've done well in your own profession, but I'm availed you d 
get along considerable in mine. Now if you'll stow all that 
gammon and speak common sense for three minutes, I'll tell 
you my mind right away, and then make tracks. That ugly 
chap in a gold-laced hat has been looking our way till I'm tired 
of him. Listen, Count. This is something to your advantage!" 

"You were always heartless," replied Tourbillon, in perfect 
good humour. " It's my misfortune. Speak, Madame, I am all 

"Now that's business," said the lady approvingly. "I sup- 
pose, Monsieur, you won't deny that I know two or three things 
you d just as soon I kept to myself." 

He shrugged his shoulders carelessly^ but with an affirmative 

" Very well," she continued. " Now if you'll keep my secrets, 
I'll keep yours. Is it a bargain ? " 

" Honour! " said the Count with a smile. 

"Honour!" she repeated. "Ah! but is it honour as if I 
were a man and could call you to account ? No. Don't get 
riled. I'm aware you d make no bones about that ! But is it 
honour such as you would pledge to another gentleman (she put 
a bitter emphasis on the word) like yourself? " 

JOS The While Rose. 

" Honour, Madame ! " he answered gravely, " as between ralo 

and man. On both sides!' 
She seemed satisfied. 

" Then to such honour I trust," said she, "that you w 11 not 
betray me. That you will nevef recognise nor salute me in 
public, never divulge in private that the Madame Molinara of 
the play-bills owns a legal right to but one of all the names 
she has been called by, and that name she disgraced, not for 
your sake, you needn't think it! bat because — well, never mind 
why. Perhaps because she had a wild fierce temper auii a loving 
heart ! You may sneer, Count, you often used, I remember, 
but I tell you, there is but one man in the wor'd I'd walk fifty 
yards to serve, and that man was once my husband. Once! — 
he's my husband still. Let me see who dare dispute it! But 
I'll never stand in his way, poor Gerard ; I'll never be a clog 
and a blot, and a disgrace to him. If he fancies I'm dead and 
gone, perhaps he'll think kindly of me now and then, who 
knows? "We didn't hit it off so bad together just at first. It 
seems queer enough to remember it all now. Don't be afraid, 
Count, I'm not going to cry, but I can't keep from laughing. 
It's enough to make a cat laugh. Madame Molinara don't sound 
much like Fanny Draper, does it? Nor I don't look much like 
her neither — do I ? There's but two people left in England I'm 
afraid of now that poor father's dead and gone, and me never to 
have seen him ! But two in all England, Count, and you're 
one of them." 

Tourbillon bowed, as accepting a compliment, adding — ■ 
" And Monsieur Ainslie, without doubt, is the other ? " 
" Gerard ! " she exclaimed, with another laugh, which stifled 
something like a sob. "Not he! Not if he was coming up 
the walk here, this instant. And dressed for the stage, bless 
you ! Why he wouldn't know me from his grandmother. 
No, I can keep out of the other's way. She and I are little 
likely to meet in this great crowded town ; but I own I was 
afraid of you. I remembered your ways of old. I knew that if 
you heard of a fresh face, be she princess, actress, or chimney- 
sweep, you'd never rest till you d seen her, and found out all 
about her, and made love to her, maybe, as you always do. 
That's why I've asked you to meet me here. That's why I've 
asked you' to promise you will never let Mr. Ainslie nor any- 
body else know I'm alive and in England. Now, Count, can 
I depend upon you ? " 

*' it is a bargain," said Tourbillon. impressively; " OD OD(J 
iide as on thf other ' " 

" Fais ce que dois." 303 

"Done!" she answered, shaking hands as if to ratify the 
compact, while she wished him good-bye. " I shall perhaps 
have one more look at him now. He'll never be the wiser. 
Of the other I have no fear — no fear. She's a real lady, and I 
- — well, I'm an actress. Nothing better. I thank you, Tour 
billon ; I do, indeed. Good luck to you ! From my heart I 
wish you well ! " 

So she walked out of the garden, staring superciliously on the 
unoffending guardian of the gate, while the Count, select ins: Hs 
largest cigar, proceeded to light it thoughtfully and methodically, 
looking after his late companion with an air of whimsical con- 
sternation on his expressive countenance that language is power- 
less to describe. 



Madame Molinara, or Fanny, as we may again call her, had 
confessed to the Count that, besides himself, there was but one 
person in London from whom she feared recognition, but one 
whom she dreaded to meet. Her feminine instincts warned her 
that if she should chance to come face to face with Mrs. Vande- 
leur, all attempt at further concealment would be in vain. The 
spirit of rivalry between women is far keener, subtler, more 
enduring than with men. The miller's daughter had loved 
Gerard Ainslie as dearly as it was in such a nature to love any 
human being, and was ready to prove her affection by voluntarily 
relinquishing every claim on her husband. She felt she could 
never make him happy; felt it now just as surely, though not 
so bitterly, as in the first days of their married life. She 
Lad resolved, and in such a woman there was no small self- 
sacrifice in the resolution, that she would be contented but to 
hear that he was beloved by somebody more worthy of him. 
That should he choose to believe her dead (remember, Fanny's 
standard of morality was only in accordance with her education 
and her subsequent career), she would never undeceive himj 
frying to rejoice from her heart if she learned he was married 
to another — just as she had rejoiced when she read in the 
English newspapers of his succession to wealth that she never 
dreamed of asking him to share. To be sure her profession 
brought her in more money than she could spend ; but had she 

ge4 ^he White Rosa. 

been penniless, she felt it would have made no difference. With 
all her faults she was, in some respects, a thorough woman : in 
none more so than in certain overstrained sentiments of falsa 
pride and real generosity. True, she could have approved of 
Gerard's marriage to any other on earth rather than to Mrs. 
Vandeleur. Thousands of miles off a pang smote her when she 
saw in the Times how that lady had at last become a widow. 
But while her heart insisted Gerard would never care for any- 
body but Norah, her head reasoned more coldly and rationally, 
that few attachments were rooted deep enough to withstand 
such contrary blasts as had swept over the White Rose, to out- 
live so long a frost as must have chilled and pierced her to the 
core. " No," she told herself, walking hastily homeward 
through the Park. " If they had been going to make a match 
of it they would have settled matters months ago. John Van- 
deleur's been dead long enough, in all conscience. My ! what 
a wicked one he was ! I wonder what's gone with him now ! 
Well, it's no use bothering about that ! I dare say Miss Norah's 
pretty much altered, too, by this time. I know I am, though 
the Yankees didn't seem to think there was a deal amiss with 
my outside neither ! What will happen to my Gerard is this. 
Some young lady of title will fall in love with him, and they'll 
be married with two parsons and a dozen of bridesmaids, and 
I'll put on a thick veil and go up in the gallery to see it done. 
Suppose she don't suit him after all. That won't do at any 
price. No, we'll fix it different for his sake, though it's as bad 
as bitters to swallow down. If he must have the woman he set 
his foolish boy's heart on, why he shall. I'll give him up to her, 
I will. 'Specially if she's gone off in her looks ! I shall never 
know it though. I mustn't meet her. It's my business to keep 
out of her way if I go barefoot a hundred miles. Jerusalem ! If 
this isn't Miss Welby herself! " 

Fanny had, indeed, bounced into the very arms of a lady 
making for a brougham waiting some twenty paces off, in the 
carriage-drive, whom she knew at once for Mrs. Vandeleur, and 
whom, in the confusion of the moment, she called out loud by her 
maiden -name. The recognition was instantaneous and mutual. 
Norah, turning as white as a sheet, felt ready to drop. With 
both hands she clung to the railing that guarded the footway, 
and strove to frame some commonplace words of greeting and 
surprise. In vain, for not a syllable would come. 

Fanny recovered her senses first ; more accustomed to situa- 
tions of perplexity, she had acquired the useful habit of taking 

n Fais ce que dots." J05 

the bull by the horns, and she saw with a glance that the present 
was no time for deception or concealment. Acting always on 
impulse, it was her impulse at this moment to be frank, gene- 
rous, and out-spoken. She, the woman who had right and 
power on her side, threw herself without hesitation on the mercy 
of the other. 

" Miss Norah ! " said she. " Miss Welby — I beg your pardon, 
Mrs. Vandeleur It's too late ; you knew me ; I saw you did. 
You was always a good friend to me and mine long ago. Be a 
good friend still. Will you keep my secret and his? " 

" Your secret ! His ! " gasped Norah, still holding on to the 
rails. " Fanny — Mrs. Ainslie — what do you mean ? " 

The other had quite recovered her coolness now. 

" Is that your carriage, ma'am ? " said she, pointing to the 
brougham, with its two servants assiduously preparing for their 
mistress. " Will you give me a lift ? I've something to say that 
can't be said out here amongst all these people. Oh ! you needn t 
be afraid ! I keep a carriage of my own now ! " 

This was unjust, for Mrs. Vandeleur, though she had not yet 
recovered her voice, expressed in dumb show exceeding goodwill 
thus to remove their unexpected interview from public gaze 
but Fanny was prepared to be unjust, because with the one com 
prehensive glance that took in the other's features, complexion, 
bonnet, ear-rings, gloves, dress and deportment, the uncomfort- 
able truth obtruded itself, that never even in her bright young 
days long ago, had the White Rose, spite of anxiety and agita- 
tion, looked more queenly, more delicate, more beautiful, than 
at that moment. 

It was a hard task Madame Molinara had set herself, but she 
resolved to go through it, reflecting with something of bitter 
sarcasm that, had she known beforehand her rival's beauty 
remained so untarnished, she would never have drifted into the 
false position that bade her do an act of generosity against her 

Not till the door of the carriage was banged to, and the 
direction given for Fanny's residence, did Mrs. Vandeleur find 
her voice. It came at last, very weak and tremulous, — 

" I was so startled just now, I could not tell you, but I am 
glar\ to see you again, Fanny. Indeed I am." 

"That's nonsense," answered Fanny, with good-humoured 
abruptness. " You oughtn't to be. You ouglit to hate me. 
You do. Just as I used to hate you. But you won't hate 
me any longer when I've told vou ali I want to say. What a 

306 The White Rose. 

noise these small broughams make, to be sure. One can't heai 
oneself speak. I suppose it's being so near the wheels." 

Mrs. Vandeleur could hardly help smiling at this display of a 
fastidious taste in carriages from the miller's daughter. Perhaps 
the other made the remark on purpose, intending thereby lo 
place them both on a more common-place and more equal foot- 
ing; perhaps only with the nervous desire natural to us all, of 
putting oft, if for ever so few seconds, the fatal word or deed 
that must henceforth be irrevocable, irretrievable. There was 
silence for a few seconds between the two women, while each, 
6cannin r the other's exterior, wondered what Gerard could see tc 
excuse his infatuation, but with this difference, that Mrs. Vande 
leur marvelled honestly and from her heart, whereas the actress 
forced herself to stifle the conviction of her own inferiority in 
all, except mere physical attraction, that fascinated mankind. 
She broke it abruptly, and with an effort. " Miss Norah," sai>. J 
she, " Mrs. Vandeleur, do you think as bad people can ever be 
happy ? Not if they're ever so prosp?rc.:s ! Don't believe it. 
I've been wicked enough myself, and new I'm so miserable — so 
miserable ! " Her voice came thick and dry, while the lines 
that denote mental suffering deepened and hardened round her 
mouth. The comely face looked ten years older than when it 
smiled mockingly on Tourbillon half-an-hour ago. 

Norah took her hand. " Nobody is too wicked," said she, 
gently, " to repent, and to make amends." 

"Repent !" echoed Fanny, almost in tones of anger; " I can't 
repent, I tell you. I'd do just the same if it was to come over 
again. But I can make amends, and I will too. Oh, Mrs. Van- 
deleur ! you'll hate me, you'll despise me, you'll never forgive me 
,vhen you know all ! No more you ought not. I'll never for- 
give myself. And yet I'm not sorry for it really in my heart. 
I'm not. You cannot understand how I was tempfed. You'd 
oeen used to gentlefolks all your life. To you, he was just one 
amongst a lot of others. But to me, he seemed liitd ac angel 
out of heaven. Ay, the first time as ever I set eyes on him, 
walking through the fields, and watching of the May-fly on poor 
old Ripley-water, I loved him so — I loved him so! " 

" Loved him !" thought Norah, " and yet she could leave him 
for years, when she had a right to be near him. Ah ! if I'd 
been in her place, I'd have followed my darling through the 
wide world, whether he liked it or not." But she felt that, 

after all, this woman was his wedded wife, while she well, 

she had no right to speak, so she held her peace. 

" Fats ce que dois." 30] 

"Then I determined," continued Fanny, in a set, firm voice. 
" Yes, I swore that, come what might, I'd have him, if I died 
for it. I wasn't a good girl like you, Miss Norah. I wasn't 
brought up to be a good girl, though poor old daddy he was always 
the kindest of fathers to me. And I hadn't set foot in England 
two days afore I was down at Ripley, and through the orchard 
like a lapwing, making no doubt as I should find him with 
his arm over the half-door, and his dear old face, that's in 
heaven now, smiling through the flour, so pleased to see his 
little Fac. I ain't going to cry, Mrs. Vandeleur. Wei), when 
I came round in front, the place was all shut up and boarded in. 
The garden-plot was choked in nettles, the box had grown as 
high as my knees, the mill-wheel was stopped, and the sluice dry. 
1 cried then, I did, for I knew I should never see him no more. 
Its a quiet little place they've buried him in. Close by mother, 
in a corner of Ripley churchyard. Oh, Mrs. Vandeleur ! d'ye 
ihink he could have died without knowing as his little Fan 
would have given her two eyes to be at his bed-head only for a 
minute? I can't bear to think of it. I won't ! I can't! I 
vin't going to cry. I ain't going to cry." 

But she did cry, heartily, bursting into a passion of tears, as 
violent as it was soon over, while Mrs. Vandeleur, woman-like, 
wept a little, no doubt, tor company. 

" You ve a good heart, you have," resumed the miller's 
daughter, " and that's why I'm so sorry and so resolute. Look 
here, Mrs. Vaiuleleurj I stole away the man you loved, and — 
yes, I will say it out — as loved you, and made him my husband. 
There was others in the business, far more to blame than me. 
Others as stuck at nothing to get what they wanted, be it good 
or bad; but that's all past and gone now. Well, I know if 
right had been right, you should have had my Gerard (Xorah 
winced and shrank back into her corner of die carriage), and 
you >hall have him yet. Repent and make amends, says you. 
I can't repent, but I can make amends. Nobody but yourself 
and one other knows I'm in England, or even alive. I'll engage 
that one doesn't let the cat out of the bag. Besides, Ire heard 
sav that if a woman keeps seven years away from her husband, 
she's fi? good as dead to him in law, and he cau marry again. You 
two might be very happy together. I dou t want to see it} but 
I can bear to know it, if it's my own doing. There, I've said 
my sav, and here we are turning into Berners Street." 

" Impossible!" exclaimed Norah, struggling fiercely, as it were, 
with the evil spirit that was tempting her, radiant and seductive 

308 The White Rose. 

as an angel of light. " Impossible, Fanny ! You mean kindly, 
generously, no doubt. But your marriage to — to Mr. Ainslie ii 
lawful and bindiDg so long as you both live. Nothing on earth 
can undo it. Besides, think of the scandal — the shame — the 
sin ! 

"Oh, I don't go in for all that," answered Fanny, a little 
relieved, it may be, in her secret heart, by the rejection of her 
handsome offer. " I've got other things to think of. I can't 
sit with my hands before me, working it backwards and for- 
wards like you ladies do. I've my own bread to make, you see, 
and very good bread it is, I can tell you. Why, I've a part to 
study now, this very afcarnoon. And father isn't hardly cold in 
his grave," she added, with a strange, ghastly smile. 

" A part to study ! " repeated Norah. " Oh, Fanny — -you never 
will — you never can !" 

" Folks must live," answered the other, with the hard, bold 
expression that had varied so often during their drive, settling 
over her face once more. 

They had now reached Madame Molinara's door in Berners 
Street, and the brougham came to a stop. 

"Fanny!" exclaimed Mrs. Vandeleur, "you mean to do 
right. You want to be better. We are both very miserable. 
I — I have more than I need of this world's wealth. Share it 
with me. Leave the stage, and try to lead a different life. It 
is better, after all, to be good; than famous, admired, successful 
■ — even happy." 

"I should go mad !" answered the other, wildly. "I should 
go thinking, thinking, thinking, till I was out of my mind. 
Nothing but the constant excitement keeps me in my senses. 
Come and see me act. Promise; I shall feel a better woman. 
Mrs. Vandeleur, you are an angel ! Ii I dared, I would say, 
' God bless you !' " 

She seized the corner of Norah's shawl, pressed it passionately 
once, twice, to her lips, darted from the carriage, and drawing 
both veils over her face, hurried across the street to disappear 
within her own door. 

" Home ! " said the White Rose, leaning back in solitude, and 
realising, for the first time, her utter desolation — the bitter 
loneliness of her lot, the cruel mockery of a life, rich in emptv 
appliances of outward show, but deprived of sympathy, debarred 
from happiness, and devoid of hope. 

' Advienne ce que pourra." 509" 


It is a well-known truth, borne out by the moral and physical 
experience of every sufferer, that the severity of a wound or 
blow is not thoroughly appreciated till its immediate effects have 
passed away. A man breaks his collar-bone hunting, receives a 
sabre cut, or even loses a limb, in action, and for awhile, beyond 
a certain numbness and confusion, is scarcely aware that he has 
been hurt. So is it with a great sorrow. There is, first of all, 
an instinctive effort at resistance, not without something of the 
hard, stern joy brave spirits feel in every phase of strife, followed 
by a dead sensation of stupefaction and bewilderment, the lull, 
as it were, before the storm j then, after a dark, strange, ghastly 
interval, a smarting pain, a piercing agony, the real punishment 
which wrings those most severely who clench their teeth, and 
knit their brows, and scorn to wince, or shrink, or cry aloud 
beneath the torture. 

Norah looked very pale and stern when she walked into her 
own house ; but she had quite made up her mind what she was 
going to do. AVith her head up, and a proud, resolute step, like 
some priestess of old, prepared to officiate at the sacrifice, she 
marched into her drawing-room — that room in which every 
article of furniture, every ornament and knick-knack, was now 
more or less associated with his presence, and proceeded to ran- 
sack a little drawer in her writing-table, sacred to certain relics 
that had somehow connected themselves with Air. Ainslie. 
These treasures were but few in number, and, to judge by ap- 
pearance, of small intrinsic value ; yet what a life's history they 
represented ; what a wealth of affection, anxiety, longing, folly, 
and regret had been lavished on those poor, desultory, uncon- 
scious trifles ! There lay the book he had given her long ago, in 
the days of annuals and keepsakes, at Marston Rectory. A gaudy 
little volume, bound in much-frayed red and gold. Its contents, 
I am bound to admit, were of the trashiest and most nonsensical 
character. An engraving of an impossible woman in drooping 
ringlets, with an enormous straw hat, adorned the frontispiece, 
and to this deity such touching lines as the following, separated 
by a sheet of silver paper from their object, were addressed in 
ostentatious type : — 

" Lady, I look and wonder at thy face, 
Jts perfect lineaments, its haughty grace \ 

3 io The White Rose. 

The fair pale brow, the calm and classic smile, 
The deep dark eyes, that brighten and beguile." 

And so on, through some fifty verses, scored along the mar«nn 
by a black-lead pencil, doubtless young Gerard's handiwork 
during intervals of deeper study at Mr. Archer's, and intended 
to convey his favourable criticism of the poetry, his entire con- 
currence in its tone of adoration, as applied to the young lady 
for whom he brought such works across the Marshes in his 
pocket. Ah, those well-remembered Marshes ! She could see 
them now, with their wide, straight ditches gleaming in the 
summer sun, as she drove her ponies merrily across the level, 
looking here and there for the light, graceful figure that seldom 
disappointed her. Could it have been so long ago ? and was it 
all over — all over now? She pushed the book back into its 
drawer, and for a moment feit she had neither strength nor 
courage to make an end of her task, but, calling to mind the 
late interview with Fanny, nerved herself once more for her trial, 
and put this keepsake aside, to pack up with the rest. She had 
preserved it through her whole married life, and his, but to-day 
it must go once for all. 

There was a dried flower, too, of what kind, in its then state of 
atrophy, it would have puzzled a botanist to decide ; but Gerard 
had worn it in his coat that time when she saw him again after 
all those years of absence. Somehow it got detached, and had 
fallen out. She picked it off the carpet when he went away, 
and for a little kept it in a very warm place, which might 
account perhaps for its being so completely withered, before she 
hid it up with the other things in their drawer. Must that go 
too ? Well, it was better it should j if she spared one, she might 
spare all, and right was right. She must not even think of Mrs. 
Ainslie's lawful husband any more ! 

Here was a note — a note in the dear familiar hand. It began 
formally enough, and might, indeed, have been published word 
for word in the Times newspaper, containing as it did a very 
practical intimation that the writer had secured stalls for herself 
and Miss Tregunter at the French play. How well she remem- 
bered the vouchers coming from Mitchell's in their envelope, 
and the giee with which she put them in the fire ! They didn't 
go near the French play after all. Not one oi them cared in 
their hearts if they never entered a theatre again. No; far 
better than that, they all dined at deaf, kind old Lady Baker's. 
Herself, and Somebody, and Jane, and ^olly Egremont, with a 
couple of pleasant guardsmen, not particulf *y in love, to do the 

" Aduenne ce que pourra." 31 1 

talking. Somebody took her down to dinner, and there was 
music afterwards, under cover of which certain whispers, mean- 
ing more than they expressed, passed unnoticed. Then, when it 
was time to go away, Somebody put her into her carriage, 
retaining, as his guerdon, the flower she had worn all the even- 
ing in her bosom, and pressed it fondly to his lips (she saw hun 
by the light of her own carriage-lamps) as .she drove away. 
Altogether it was an evening out of Paradise, and now there 
.vere to be no more of them. No more — no more. 

The poor withered flower was drafted accordingly, to accom- 
pany the other discarded mementoes of an affection that should 
have been broken off long ago, if it was to be destroyed at all. 
You may tear up a sapling with your hand, and mother earth, 
dame nature, whatever you please to call her, covers the gap over 
go effectually iu six months, you would never guess she had sus- 
tained the slightest abrasion. But let your young tree grow for 
a few seasons, expanding to the sunshine, drinking in the rain, 
drawing sustenance and vitality from the very atmosphere, you 
must use cord, and lever, and grappling-iron, if you would dis- 
place it now. It is a question of strength, I admit, and you 
may root it up by main force like the other; but how long will 
it be before the grass grows over the place again ? It musf 
remain seamed, scarred, bare, and barren for the best part of a 

There was scarcely anything more to put away. A card he 
left with a few lines in pencil, expressing disappointment not to 
find her at home. A quill he had stripped of its feather clumsily 
enough, sitting in the very chair yonder by the window, while 
he laid his ground plan several feet above the surface, for one of 
those " castles in the air " he was never tired of building and 
furnishing to make a future habitation. Alas! she must not 
hope to eiiter it now. Perhaps, and the tears hung thick upon 
her eyelashes, she might occupy it with him heieatjer, as one of 
the many ma anions promised to the houseless ones: 1... heaven. 

The drawtr was nearly empty. Nothing remained but a 
showy dog-collar of red morocco leather, with a little silver bell 
attached. Talking nonsense as women will sometimes, and men 
too, when they are very happy, she had once threatened to have 
3 watch-dog 10 r her drawing-room, weighing perhaps three 
pounds and a half, the smallest she boasted that could be got in 
London. Of course Gerard went in quest of such a toy the 
following morning, but pending his difficulties in procuring any- 
thing so small as she desired, zealously effected so much of his 


31a The White Rose. 

task as consisted in purchasing a collar and sending it horna 
forthwith. To Bill George, and other gentlemen of the Fancy 
in the same line, the period that had since elapsed afforded but a 
short space for their requisite inquiries and negotiations. Alas ! 
ihat it seemed as if years had passed away in the interim to the 
White Rose ! 

By what process of feminine reasoning she arrived si her con- 
clusion, it is not for me to explain, but though she discarded the 
collar, Norah felt herself justified in retaining the bell. This 
morsel of silver she fastened carefully to her watch-chain, then 
heaping the rest of the spoil together, packed it up very neatly, 
stuck half-a-dozen stamps on it, addressed the whole to Gerard 
Ainslie, Esq., in a firmer hand than common, and so sat down 
to cry. Do not judge her harshly. She was trying to do right, 
you see, and we all know, at least all who have ever turned their 
faces resolutely to the task, how steep and rugged is the upward 
path, how sharp its flints, how merciless its thorns, how grim 
and grey and desolate frowns that ridge of granite, to attain 
which all these efforts must be made, all these sufferings endured. 
It is not easy to be good. Never believe it, or why should Virtue 
win at last so lavish, so priceless a reward ! Excelsior ! Fight 
on, fight upwards; though heart sink, limbs fail, brain reel, and 
eyes be dimmed with tears of anguish, fight doggedly on ! From 
that stern grey ridge you shall see the promised land, the golden 
mountains, and the narrow path, growing easier every step, that 
leads across the valley direct to the gates of heaven. 

A woman is very much in earnest when she forgets her 
luncheon. Robert Smart, who considered himself essentially 
Mrs. Vandeleurs footman, and looked on his fellow-servant in 
the same livery as a mere rear-rank man, a sort of make- weight 
and set-off to his own gorgeous presence, was accustomed at this 
period of the day, as indeed at many others, whe.'i he could find 
excuse, to ring a handbell with exceeding perseverance and 
energy. He seemed to think it becoming that next door neigh- 
bours on both sides and as much as possible of the street, should 
be advised whenever his mistress was about to partake of solid 
refreshment. On the present occasion having laid bis ^^ble 
giT.vely and decorously as usual, he applied himself with vigour 
to the luncheon-bell, and felt a little surprised to find that 
summons unattended by its usual result. 

Robert;, whose general appearance was of a kind much appre- 
ciated below stairs, affected the best of terms with the cook. 
That worthy woman, " keeping company," as she expressed it, 

' Adiienne ce que pourra." 313 

with nobody in particular at the time, regarded him with suffi- 
cient approval. His attractions came out, indeed, in shining 
Contrast with a baker whom she had lately jilted, and a desirable 
greengrocer whose attentions she already perceived looming in 
the distance. 

Such a state of affairs was peculiarly favourable to domestic 
criticism on " the missis," her " sperrits," her " tantrums/' her 
loss of appetite, and her "followers." 

The bell had been rung more than ten minutes, and still 
no opening of doors, no rustle of draperies on the staircase, 
announced that Mrs. Vandeleur had gone down to luncheon. 
The cutlets would be cold, the grill uneatable, the new potatoes 
steamed to a consistency like soap. Already a "souffle to follow" 
was at the very bubble of perfection. The cook lost patience. 
" Bob," she screamed from the foot of her kitchen-stairs, "what- 
ever are you about up there, and why don't you bring down the 
first course? " 

" Bob," as she called him, was tugging at his wristbands in 
the dining-room, but responded forthwith. 

" She've never come to lunch at all," said he, looking dis- 
gusted at such transparent want of common sense. "She've not 
been above-stairs, or I must have heard her go. She've never 
left the drawing-room, and the things is all getting cold, and 
the carriage ordered at three to a moment." 

The cook prided herself on an uncomplimentary abruptness, 
calling it "speaking her mind." 

"Well," she replied, "you great gaby, why don't you ring the 
luncheon-bell again ? If that didn't fetch her down, I'd go bold 
into the drawing-room and tell her myself, if it was me." 

" No you wouldn't," replied Mr. Smart, from the top step of 
the kitchen-stairs. " She've given orders not to be disturbed in 
that there room. I wouldn't go in for ninepence, not without 
I'd a reasonable excuse." 

"Bother her orders!" replied the cook, insubordinate as it 
were ex officio ; " she could but blow up like another.'' 

"Missis never blows up," answered Robert, " I wish she would, 
but she've a way of looking at a chap when she ain't best 
pleased, as if he was the dirt beneath her *eef I don't like it, 
I tell ye, I ain't used to it." 

" Ah, you ve been spoilt, you have ! " observed the rook, cast- 
ing an anxious glance towards the kitchen and the souffle. 

" Specially by the women-folk," retorted Mr. Smart, with his 
best air. 

3M The White Rose. 

" Get along with ye," laughed the other, retiring leisurely to 
the glowing recesses of her own dominions. 

Fortunately for Robert's peace of mind a ring at the door-bell, 
and delivery of a note by the postman, furnished sufficient 
excuse for intrusion in the drawing-room. He returned from 
that apartment wearing a face of considerable importance, and 
proceeded to afford his fellow-servant the beneiiL of his 

"There's something up," observed he, with an air of great 
sagacity. " It's no wonder the luncheon's been left to get cold. 
There's Missis walking about the drawing-room taking on awful. 
I handed the note on a waiter as usual, and she stood looking 
ont-a-winder, and never turned round to take it nor nothin°\ 
' Thank you, James,' says she, for she didn't even know my step 
from his'n, ' put it down on the writing-table.' 'Luncheon's 
ready, Ma'am,' says I. ' I don't want no luncheon,' says she, 
but I could tell by her voice she'd been cryin', cryin' fit to bust 
herself. I wish I knowed wot it was; I can't a-bear to see her 
so down for nothin' It's a bad job you may depend. I wish 
it mayn't be a death in the family." 

"I wish it mayn't be 'old Van' come back again," retorted 
the cook, who was of a less impressionable, and, indeed, more 
scoffing disposition. "She wouldn't like to be a widow be- 
witched, I know ! " 

" It's a bad job," repeated Mr. Smart, feeling, to do him 
justice, somewhat concerned for the obvious distress of the lady 
whose bread he ate — five times a day. 

The cook laughed. " Look ve here," said she. "I can see 
into a mill-stone as far as another. That chap with a brown 
beard hasn't been in our house for a fortnight, has he now ? 
Nor he hasn't left his card neither, for I've been and looked 
in the basket myself every day. I mean him as was away 
foreign so long. Well, they do say as he kept company with 
Missis afore siie was married, or anything, and that's what 
brought him here day after day, at all hours, whether or no. 
And now he never comes near her, nor nothing. Don't you 
see, you great stupe ? She've been and lost her young man. 
That's why she takes on ! Don't you trouble — she'll soon get 
another. Dear, dear — you men ! what a thick-headed lot you 
are ! And there's 1117 stock draining away to rubbish all the 
while ! " 

So you see that Norah s distresses, however touching and 
bighflown they may have appeared to herself, were susceptible 

Hunting her down. 315 

of a broader, lower, more common-place view, when thus sub 
jectcd co the impartial comments and criticism of her own 
servants in her own house. 



Mrs. V.'.s^f.leur dried her tears, and read the nolfc humbly 
enouch. She knew the handwriting to be Burton's, a :i<i at anotlu 1 
time would have accepted such a communication with something 
of impatience, if not scorn. It was her worst symptom, she 
thought, that she should feel too weary and wretched to-day to 
be angry with anything. Though rather a crafty production, 
and though her thoughts wandered so heedlessly to other matters, 
that it was not till the second perusal she gathered its real 
meaning and object, there was nothing in the following appeal 
to her own sense of justice which did not seem perfectly fair 
and above-board. 

"Dear Mrs. Vandelf.ur, 

" Under existing circumstances, and after our unfortunate 
misunderstanding, you will be surprised to see my signature to a 
note, or rather a leiter (for I have much to explain), addressed 
to yourself. Surprised, but, may I venture to hope, not offended ? 
Indeed, you have no cause for offence. None can regret more 
deeply than myself the chain of untoward accidents that have 
conspired to lower me in your opinion, nor the consequent 
estrangement of a lady whose esteem I value exceedingly, and 
whom I was formerly permitted to consider one of my oldest 
and kindtvt friends. Whatever hopes I may have cherished, 
whatever feelings I may have entertained of a more presump- 
tuous nature, sha~'l assuredly never again be expressed in words. 
As far as you are concerned it is as though they had never been. 
It I choose to treasure up a memory in the place where I never 
ought to have planted a hope, that must be my own aflair, and 
you are welcome to call me a fool for my pains. But enough 
of this. I am now writing less as a suppliant imploring mercy, 
than an injured man demanding justice. I have tried over ;»nd 
over again tor an opportunity of defending my conduct in per on, 
I am ai la^t driven to the less agreeable ta:k of evcusinr; nv, self 

3i6 The White Rom. 

by letter. Do not be impatient and unfair. 1 only ask you to 

read this in the spirit in which it is written. 

" You had reason, good reason, I frankly admit, to be very 
deeply offended many months ago, and our outward reconcilia- 
tion since then, though plausible enough, has not, I feel, been 
of a nature to re-establish terms of common cordiality and good- 
will. You thought me, and I cannot blame you, over-bold, 
intriguing, and unscrupulous. You judged me guilty of gross 
presumption, of an act scarcely permissible to a gentleman, and 
I allow appearances were very much to my disadvantage. Ah, 
Mrs. Vandeleur! you little knew the feelings that prompted a 
step I have never since ceased to regret. You little knew my 
jealousy — mine ! without a shadow of right — concerning every- 
thing that could be said or thought about one who was my ideal 
of goodness and truth. I felt persuaded it was impossible for 
you to do wrong. I felt equally determined to ascertain the 
origin of a thousand rumours that it drove me wild to hear, and 
obtain for myself the power, if not the right, to contradict tl em 
on my own responsibility. 

" In doing this I offended you beyond redemption. I do not 
deny your grievance. I do not wish to dwell one moment on 
so painful a subject. I only ask you to believe in my regret, in 
my sincerity ; to place on my subsequent conduct that favourable 
construction which I have never forfeited by my actions, and to 
meet me in the world as a friend — nothing more. Eut, I entreat 
you, Mrs. Vandeleur — nothing less. 

" Good-natured Dolly Egremont has sent me his box at the 
Accordion for the ioth. Though too near the stage, it is the 
best in the house. I am anxious to make up a party of people 
who know each other well, and have already secured Miss Tre- 
gunter. She can only spare us the evenings now from shopping 
for her trousseau. There are a few more, all favourites of your 
own. Can you be persuaded to join us ? You will be doing a 
kindness to a great many people. You will be amused — even 
interested; and you will prove to me that, if not forgotten, at 
least my ill-judged precipitancy has been forgiven. Please send 
an answer, though I will take care a place is kept for you at 
any rate. 

" Little news this morning at White s or Boodle's. Lady 
Featherbrain is going to marry her old admirer after all. She 
has just driven him down St. James's Street in her mail- 
phaeton. They are taking five to two here that she throws him 
over before next Monday, the day for which the match is fixed. 

Hunting Iter down. 3 r 7 

Young Fielder has not bolted after all. His father 'pays up, 
and he is to exchange. Poor Cotherstone, I fear, is dying. 
This, of course, will disqualify Purity, Hydropathist, and a 
great many more of the Clearwells that ars rjever likely to be 

" I had almost forgotten to say our box is for the first night 
of Gerard Ainslie's play, I hear it is to be a great success. Come 
and give your opinion.- J shall then know that I may subscribe 
myself, as ever, 

" Your sincere friend^ 

"Granville Burton.' 

' ' Poor fellow ! I wonder whether he can really have cared 
for me after all ! " was Mrs. Vandeleur's first thought when she 
read the above apologetic epistle. " Not a bit of it ! " was her 
next, as she reflected on its measured diction and well-chosen 
expressions, artfully selected to avoid the remotest shadow of 
offence. "No. If it had come from his heart there would 
have been a little bitter to mix with all that sweet. Gerard 
would have reproached me half-a-dozen times in as many lines 
if he had felt ill-used. Ah ! I don't believe anybody in the 
world ever cared for me as I like to be cared for, except Gerard. 
And now we must never meet. It does seem so hard ! Well, 
I may go and see his play at any rate. There can't be much 
harm in that. I suppose I must write a civil line to accept. I'll 
try and find Jane first. It looks odd of Mr. Burton, too, getting 
this box and then asking me to join his party. I'll wear my 
grey satin, I think, with the black lace. I wonder what he 
can be driving at ? " 

It was indeed impossible for her to guess, but Granville Burton 
did not usually drive at anything without being sure of the goal 
he intended to attain. In the present instance he had a great 
many objects in view, and the design of making a great many 
people uncomfortable — Dolly Egremont, his affianced bride, 
Gerard Ainslie, Mrs. Vandeleur, himself not a little, inasmuch 
as the scratches he had sustained while endeavouring to detaclt 
the White Rose from her stem still smarted and rankled to the 
quick. Lastly, Madame Molinara, once the miller's daughter 
at Ripley now the famous American star, whose name in letters 
four feet long was placarded on every dead wall in the metropolis. 

Fanny's incognito had proved more difficult of preservation 
than she anticipated. Like many others, she imitated the ostrich, 
and hoped to escape observation only because K was her owu 

3i8 The iVtdte Rosi, 

desire to avoid notice. It is strange that her experience in the 
United States, where it is everybody's business to find out his 
neighbour's, had not taught her better. Such men as Granville 
Burton make a profession of knowing all about a new celebrity, 
never learning less, usually more, than the actual truth. In. 
quiring where they were born, and how and why. Ascertaining 
their education, their manners, their private means — above all, 
their secret peccadilloes. It, is so pleasant to feel possessed of 
the freshest news at a dinner-party, to keep the key of a secret 
that shall excite all those guests to envious attention, watching 
or making the wished-for opportunity, and then, with calm 
superiority, proceeding in measured tones to detail that wicked 
little anecdote which nobody in London has heard before, that 
startling bit of news which has not yet found its way into the 
afternoon club, or the evening paper. But, like the fishmonger, 
you must be careful no opposition dealer has fresher wares than 
yours. If once your story be capped, or its authenticity dis- 
puted by a better-informed rival, farewell to your superiority for 
weeks Such a check is sometimes not to be got over in the 
whole of a London season. 

Burton knew Count Tourbillon, of course, just as he knew 
every other notorious man in London. Equally, of course, 
smoking their cigars in the sun (as we are glad to do in Eng- 
land), their discourse, originally attracted to the theme by a 
hurried nod Dolly Egremont gave them in passing, turned on 
that new celebrity, who, so the world said, was to make the 
fortune of their friend, his company, and every one connected, 
however remotely, with the Accordion Theatre. 

"They say she's a wonderful actress," observed the Dandy, in 
languid afternoon tones, as of a man whom no subject on earth 
could heartily interest. 

" My faith — no ! " replied the Count. " Quick, brilliant, ver- 
satile, and producing great effect in superficial parts j but for true 
passion, for deep repressed feeling — bah ! She has no more power 
to express it than a ballet-dancer. See, she would make fury 
with an audience in the part of Lady Teazle. She would be 
hissed off after ten minutes if she attempted to play Ruth." 

"You've seen her act ? " inquired Burton. 

" I have seen her act " answered Tourbillon, in measured 
tones, repressing with difficulty the mocking smile his own 
words cjilk-d up. 

"Good-locking, they tell me," continue.:! the Dandy, taking 
hia hat oiFtc a lady on horseba* k. 

Hunting her down. 319 

"Only on the stage," replied the other. " Hers is a beauty 
'.hat needs the accessories of dress, jewels, lights, illusion. If 
you walked with her through a garden at sunset, you would say, 
' I have deceived myself. This is a wearisome woman. Let us 
go to supper.' And she would accept the invitation willingly. 
Enrin, e'est une bonne grosse bourgeoise, et tout est dit ! " 

"Then you know her?" exclaimed Burton, waking up from 
his lethargy, delighted to think he could learn some particulars 
of the celebrity about whom everybody was talking. 

" A friend of mine was once much entangled with her," 
answered the ready Frenchman. "Poor fellow! I do not like 
to think of it now. It is a sad story Parlons d'autre chose." 

But he had said enough to put his companion on the track, 
and with dogged perseverance Dandy Burton hunted it, step by 
step, till he had found out the truth, the whole truth, and a 
good deal more than the truth. With his large acquaintance, 
his inquiring turn of mind in all matters of scandal, his utter 
contempt for fair dealing in everything allied to the search for 
information, and the use he put it to when acquired, the Dandy 
could ferret out a mystery more promptly and certainly than any 
man, unconnected with the detective profession, in the whole of 

Perhaps his experience on the turf stood him in good stead, 
perhaps he W3S no little indebted to his own natural cunning 
and predilection for intrigue, but in a very few days he had 
identified Madame Molinara with the real Mrs. Ainslie, his 
former acquaintance, Fanny Draper, of Ripley Mill j had satis- 
fled himself the important discovery remained as yet almost 
exclusively his own, and had set about laying the train for a little 
explosion from which he anticipated much gratification in the 
way of spite, malice, and revenge. 

His information had cost him a dinner at his club to the 
American minister, an invitation for a duchess's ball to an 
Italian gentleman once connected with the theatre at Milan, a 
box of cigars to Mr. Barrington-Belgrave, formerly BruiT, and 
three half-crowns at intervals to a seedy individual in black, 
once a tout, lately a dog-stealer, now a professional vagabond. 
He considered the results very cheap at the money. 

Dolly E^remont's box was then secured for the first night of 
Pope C/en;<nt, or the Cardinal's Col/apse. It would be a great 
stroke of business, thought the Dandy, to collect in that narrow 
space the following elements, both discordant and sympathetic : — • 

First, Miss Tregunter, on whose feelings the blazing effects 01 

320 The White Rose. 

Madame Molinara 5 attractions, and the general stage-business 
in which her plight ed bridegroom must necessarily be absorbed, 
could not fail to produce a very disagreeable impression. 

Next, Dolly himself, over whom the ill-humour of his lady- 
love would lower like a blight, withering up his good spirits and 
good-humour during the ensuing twenty-four hours, and making 
him wish, perhaps, for an evil moment, that he had left his 
petulant passion-flower blooming on her stalk. 

Then Gerard Ainslie, the author of the piece, to whom such 
an unwelcome appearance of a wife he had forgotten, thus resus- 
citated to enact the leading part in his play, would be a bugbear 
none the less startling, that he witnessed it for the first time by 
the side of the woman he had loved so long, and had hoped at 
last to make his own. 

And she ! The White Rose ! Burton would have his revenge 
then ! That pride of hers, that had over-ridden him so 
haughtily, would be humbled to the dust — and in his own 
piesence too, by his own dexterity. Perhaps, in her despair and 
her humiliation, the forbearance, the generosity, the good feel- 
ing he would make it his business to display, might win her for 
him after all. 

Norah wondered, as we have learned, "what the Dandy was 
driving at ! " She would have been indignant, no doubt, but 
she must have felt flattered, could she have known that to attain 
his goal he would have spared neither whip-cord nor horse-flesh, 
grudged no material, shrank from no risk, shutting his eyes to 
the probability of an upset, the certainty of a break-down, and 
the undoubted absurdity of the whole journey. 



Mrs. Vandeleur dried her tears and rang for the carriage. It 
had been twenty minutes at the door. She hastened up-stairs, 
bathed her eyes, sprinkled a little dirt in the shape of pearl 
powder on her face, and, discarding iier maid's choice, selected 
a bonnet she considered more becoming under the circumstances. 
It was no use looking her worst she thought, and despite such 
iudicious applications, the tell-tale eye-lids were still reddened — 
the delicate face was paler than its wont. But she felt better. 
Some of the sharpness of the blow had passed away. Burton s 

Paltiatwet. $4» 

ietter proved to a certain extent an anodyne. It diverted her 
mind from the one great sorrow, gave her cause for reflection as 
to what she must decide about the play, and, above all, opened 
up a narrow glimpse of hope. Yes, there was a chance, nay, 
almost a certainty, of seeing Gerard once again. Happiness is, 
alter all, very relative. Yesterday she pined and fretted because 
she could not spend her whole life with him, to-day she blessed 
and cherished the mere possibility of hearing his voice for five 
minutes in the crowded box of a theatre ! 

Of course he would come ! She had heard much of the eager- 
ness with which authors are believed to watch the progress or 
their own productions, and not being familiar with the class, 
voted it an impossibility that Gerard should absent himself from 
the Accordion on the first night of his play. Madame Molinara 
too had made such a point of her presence. Poor Fanny might 
feel hurt if she never went to see her act. This would be an 
excellent opportunity, and to find husband and wife under the 
same roof, whether they recognised each other or not, would con- 
firm her own good resolutions so strongly, and be so beneficial 
to herself! The last seemed an unanswerable argument. She 
was persuaded, no doubt, that for a hundred such reasons, and 
not because of her intense thirst and longing to set eyes on 
Gerard once more, she had determined to accept Burton s invita- 
tion, should she find on inquiry there was any likelihood Mr. 
Ainslie would make one of the party. 

To ascertain this point, she bethought herself it would be well 
to call on Jane Tregunter forthwith. Were not Gerard Ainslie 
and Dolly Egremont fast friends, sure to be familiar with each 
other's movements ? Was not the latter gentleman bound in 
the most abject slavery to his affianced bride ? He could have 
no secrets from dear Jane, and dear Jane, she was sure, had no 
secrets from her. 

Now with Miss Tregunter's family, and in her own circle, 
there existed a pleasant fiction, upheld zealously enough, that 
the heiress never occupied her excellent town house in solitude, 
or, as she was pleased to term it, "on her own hook." 

Relatives of different degrees, but of steady age and habits, 
were supposed to reside with her in continual succession, thus 
warding off the offensive strictures of Mrs. Grundy, who, with 
her usual consistency, saw not the slightest impropriety so long 
as the young lady only ordered her own carriages at her own 
time to go where she pleased, with entire independence of action 
when out of her own house. 

33 J The White Rose. 

It was at present Aunt Emily's turn of duty to mount guard 
over her niece, but Aunt Emily, who was proline, and fond of 
her children, had been summoned home to nurse a croupy little 
girl, the youngest of ten, and Jane Tregunter, absorbed in hei 
trousseau, was just as much a fern me scute as Lady Baker, who 
had buried two husbands, and might have seen out half-a-dozen, 
or Midame Molinara, who had found one more than enough. 

All this she explained with considerable volubility, before 
Norah had been in the house five minutes, pausing in her dis- 
course but once to kiss her visitor rapturously. a..d exclaim — 

" Darling ! What a love of a bonnet ! " 

"And so, dear," continued the fiancee, "here I am as inde- 
pendent as the Queen of Sheba, only mine isn't a Solomon, you 
know ; far from it, dear fellow ! he was always a goose ; but then 
he's such an honest one. And I'm ready to go anywhere with 
you, and do anything, and, in short, I'm game for any enormity 
you like to mention in the way of a lark. Only put a name to 
it, and here you are ! Do you know, it's a great pull not having 

married young Nonsense, Norah, I'm very nearly as old as 

you, only I don't look it. That sounds complimentary ! Darling, 
you know I always said you were beautiful, and so you are, but 
it's impossible for me, with my chubby cheeks, and turned-up 
nose, ever to look like anything but a school-girl ! I wish it 
wasn't. It's so much nicer to have some expression of counte- 
nance. A woman at my age should have lost her baby-face. She 
ought to seem more as if she had ' been, done, and suffered,' like 
a verb, you know. Even Dolly says yours is the most loveable 
face he ever saw. I'm not jealous though. I don't cousider him 
a very good judge, so you see I'm not vain either, though you'll 
declare I am when I've taken you up-stairs to show you my new 
dresses, and I'm sure the presents on that table in the back 
drawing-room are enough to make one as proud as a peacock ! " 

It is, perhaps, needless to observe that for everybody who came 
to call on the future Mrs. Egremont, these " presents in the 
back drawing-room " were just as much a part of the show as 
the new gowns, the new bonnets, the new stockings, handker* 
chiefs, gloves, and petticoats, nay, the new Jkuicee herself. 

Mrs. Vandeleur, as in duty bound, exhausted her whole voca- 
bulary of praise. " Beautiful ! exquisite ! uncommon ! perfect ! 
How thoroughly French ! How completely Spanish ! What 
extraordinary workmanship, in such thoroughly good taste too! 
And the writing-case, dear, it must have been made on purpose; 
v/ho gave you that ? " 

Palliatives. 32% 

Miss Tregunter's rosy face became the rosier foi a passing suf- 
fusion. " Oh, that is a little attention of Mr. Burton's. You 
know he proposed to me, dear. Wasn't it funny ? Do you think 
I ought to take it ? " 

Mrs. Vandeleur opened her blue eyes. " Proposed to you, 
Jane ! " she repeated. " Ano *ou never told me ! When 
was it ? " 

" Oh ! a long time ago," answered the other, hastily. " At 
the end of last season, just before I went abroad. I met him 
the same night at Lady Featherbrain s fancy ball. Wasn't it 
awkward ? " 

Norah pondered. That was the very day she had herself 
refused this adventurous swain, without, however, considering it 
necessary to confide his offer to her intimate friend. Obviously, 
neither lady had been sufficiently proud of her conquest to make 
it public. 

"Well, you can't send it back now," she replied, gravely j 
adding, after a moment's thought, " Janey, you were quite right 
not to marry him." 

" Marry him ! " echoed Miss Tregunter, and the tone suffi- 
ciently convinced her listener that Dolly never had anything to 
fear from the rivalry of his old fellow-pupil. 

" But what a duck of a bracelet ! " continued Mrs. Vandeleur, 
taking from the purple morocco case in which it was coiled an 
unequalled specimen of the jeweller's art. 

" Oh ! the bracelet," exclaimed the other. " Isn't it a love ? 
Isn't it per — fection ! Now, who do you suppose sent me that ? 
I can't think why, I'm sure, except that he is a great friend of 
yours. Who but dear, quiet, melancholy, good-looking Mr. 
Ainslie. The jewels are magnificent, and the setting too 
beautiful ! Do you know, Norah, every morsel of that gold he 
found and dug out himself, while he was in Australia or Cali- 
fornia, or wherever people go who are ruined and waiit to make 
their fortunes ! " 

It was Mrs. Vandeleur's turn to blush, but she hid her crimson 
face over the ornament, and in a few seconds it had grown even 
paler than before. 

He dug the gold himself, die! i-e, poor fellow ! How she 
pictured in her mind the bivouac tires, the red shirts, the bronzed, 
bearded comrades, the barren ridges, the starlit sky, the gloomv, 
desolate grandeur of the scene. She could almost fancy she saw 
the oea. face, thoughtful, weather-beaten, careworn, gazing wist- 
fully into the glowing embers, while his thoughts travelled back 

324 The White Rose. 

to England; or hushed and calm in sleep, while he dreamed of 
Uie woman he had loved so hopelessly and so well. 

A tear fell heavily on those burnished links of hard-won gold. 
It was all very well to be patient, resolute, right-minded, but 
the rebellious heart would make itself heard, and she must see 
him once again. Just once again, and then she would accept 
her fate ! 

" Janey," asked the White Rose, discreetly changing the subject 
as far as her companion was concerned. " What are you going 
to do on the ioth ? I had some thoughts of the play if this cool 
weather lasts. Come and dine with me. I'll ask Mr. Egre* 
mont, of course, and we'll all go together." 

"Play, my dear!" answered the other. "I'm sick of the 
very name of plays. How any man in his senses can make 
himself the slave Dolly is to a parcel of odious mountebanks, 
seems to me perfectly incomprehensible. Would you believe 
it, Norah, he never got away from that hateful Accordion till 
half-past twelve last night? And he couldn't stay to luncheon, 
or you'd have found him here, where, to be sure, he'd have been 
rather in our way, because he had a disgusting rehearsal at two. 
Then the letters he gets, and the bills, and the bothers with the 
newspapers, and those shocking actresses ! My dear, it's a con- 
tinual worry, that drives me out of my senses !" 

" I suppose you will soon put a stop to it," observed Mrs. 
Vandeleur, meaningly. 

"I believe you!" answered Jane. "Wait till I'm fairly in 
the saddle, and if I don't make him as tractable as Tomboy, 
I'm very much mistaken. Poor fellow ! its only fair to say 
he'd get out of it at once if he could, but he's so deep in the 
thing now, he must go on till the theatre closes. I wish they'd 
shut it up to-morow. Well, qui vivra verra. If that Madame 
Molinara ever sets foot in my house, I'll give her leave to stay 
there for good and all !" 

Ere Miss Tre°;unter could work herself into a fume under 
this imaginary grievance, Norah recalled the conversation art- 
fully to the ooint. 

" Then you d rather not go, dear ?" said she, in her soft, quiet 
tones. " Don't, if it bores you." 

"I must 5 " replied this energetic martyr. "I can't get out 
of it ! I'll come to you and welcome, but we must dine awfully 
early, for IVe promised to be there for the first scene. It's 
some new play Dolly makes a ridiculous fuss about, only 
because this dreadful American woman acts in it, I verily 

Palliatives. 325 

believe. There's a lot of us going. Theresa, and Cousin Charlie, 
and Mr. Ainslie- and, in short, as many as the box will hold. 
It's Mr. Burton's party, and I don't want to be ruder to him 
just now than I can help." 

Mrs. Vandeleur's heart gave a little leap, not, I imagine, from 
the prospect of meeting either Theresa or Cousin Charlie. She 
would see Gerard then, possibly speak to him, and it would, of 
course, be much easier after that to sustain an eternal separa^ 

She steadied her voice admirably while she repeated her in- 
vitation, begging the guest to name her own dinner-hour, insist- 
ing with unusual energy on the inconvenience of making it too 

"And now," said Miss Tregunter, holding the door open 
with the air of a chairman at a Board of Directors, " all this is 
what I call extraneous matter. Let us proceed with the real 
business of the meeting." 

I suppose that to our coarser male organisation the deep 
and beautiful sublimity of Dress must ever remain a forbidden 
worship — a mystery unrevealed. Not to man's grosser sense is 
vouchsafed the judicious taste in colour, the discriminating 
touch for texture, the unerring glance for shape. We possess, 
indeed, our uniforms (hideous!), our sporting dresses (barbarous!), 
our official costumes (grotesque !), but to the stronger and 
stupider animal undoubtedly has been denied that heartfelt rap- 
ture which, in all matters of gauzes, muslins, silks, satins, and 
brocades, springs from a sense essentially feminine, to be termed 
with propriety " the pleasure of the eye." 

Miss Tregunter's trousseau, exclusive of a closet in which, 
like Bluebeard's wives, hung six various-coloured dresses, filled 
two spacious bedrooms and a dressing-room. For one heavenly 
lalf-hour the ladies roamed at will through these gardens of 
delight. During this too brief period of enjoyment, it is my 
belief that Miss Tvegunter, except as a remote first cause for 
such gratifying display, never gave her future husband a thought, 
that the pain in Mrs. Vandeleur's fond heart was lulled, even 
deadened, by the power of that wondrous magic which has never 
been known to fail. Alas ! that it came out all the sharper and 
more piercing later in the day, when, driving home, she met 
the well-known figure on horseback. And Gerard Ainslie, not 
stopping to speak, took his hat off with a cold, proud, distant 

it was some little consolation to mark that he looked pale, 

3*6 The White Rose. 

worn, and ill; to gather from his appearance that he too r 7i 
not without his cares; that however cross he might be, hi t'eJS 
likewise almost as unhappy as herself. 



Would she have loved him better had she guessed ijis morning's 
work ? Does not the water-lily, torn cruelly up by its roots, only 
to slide from an eager, disappointed grasp, seem fairer and fairer 
as the pitiless stream bears it farther and farther out of reach ? 
Are any of us really aware of its worth while our treasure lies 
under lock and key, ready to gladden the eye and warm the 
heart at our daily caprice ? No. I think when the thief is at 
the door, we wake to a sense of its importance, perhaps only to 
learn its full value, when the casket has been rifled and the 
jewel stolen away. 

Gerard Ainslie, like the majority of mankind, was not so 
constituted as to resist oft-repeated attacks of vexation and dis- 
appointment. Nay, there was so much of the woman in his 
temperament as rendered him patient and trusting at one 
season, suspicious and easily disheartened at another. Like a 
woman, too, while full of courage to dare, and fortitude to 
endure, there were certain blows from which he made no effort 
to recover, certain injuries he would accept unresisting, to sink 
under them without a struggle. When the poor camel falls 
beneath that last ounce of burden, the meek eyes only urge 
their piteous reproach in silence; the weary head droops gently 
to its rest without complaint, but never rises from the desert 
sand again ! Some years ago, perhaps, our gold-digger might 
have faced a great sorrow as becomes a man ; but the heart has 
thus much affinity with the brain — should I not add, the 
stomach? — that it will only bear a fixed amount of ill-usage, or 
even of justifiable wear and tear. Take too many liberties with 
it, and, no more than the intellect or the digestion, will it con- 
tinue to peiform its functions. There comes a paralysis of the 
feelings, as of the senses ; and that is indeed a dreary death-in-lif6 
which drops its arms in hopeless lassitude, and says, " 1 have shot 
my bolt; I have run my chance — sink or swim, what matter? 
1 accept my fate ! " 

Ilash cowardice, is it not ? But a cowardice to which the 

Anodynet. 527 

bravest spirits are sometimes the most susceptible. Accept your 
fate ! What is this but yielding the stakes before the game is 
played out ? Scuttling the ship befort she strikes and fills ? 
Surrendering the fort, and going over with arms, standards, and 
ammunition to the enemy ? The man who succeeds in love, 
war, money-making, is he who will not accept his fate — no, 
not though it be rammed down his throat ! — but frowns, and 
grins, and strives, never yielding an inch, unless to win back 
two, and so, by sheer force of dogged obstinacy and perseverance, 
gaining the hard fight at last, and grasping the prize — to find, 
perhaps, after all, it is scarce worth taking. Never mind, how- 
ever valueless the victory, the struggle is not without its good 

Now Gerard, from an inconsistency of character peculiar to 
such sensitive dispositions, though he had hoped on while there 
really seemed no hope, gallantly enough, became so relaxed by 
a gleam of unexpected happiness, that when adversity lowered 
Once more, he could not endure the reaction, and gave in. He 
felt like some mariner, who, after battling with contrary gales 
a whole voyage through, makes his port in a fair wind that 
veers round and drives him out to sea again ere he can enter the 
harbour. Like some gold-seeker, who has travelled, and starved, 
and shivered, and prospected, and reached a likely spot at last, to 
find nothing but quartz, dirty water, sand, perhaps a little mica, 
but never a grain of the pure, yellow, virgin gold. 

I do not hold this man was by any means wise thus to set up 
a fellow-creature for a fetish, and exact from his idol supernatural 
perfection; but, having adopted the superstition, degrading or 
otherwise, it would perhaps have been more consistent and mora 
comfortable to stick fanatically to his worship, how much soever 
the image had become defaced, its pedestal lowered, its gilding 
tarnished, or its paint worn off. 

It is a hard truth, but probably no woman that ever wore a 
smile was worth ont-tenth of the vexation, the longing, the 
weariness of spirit, caused by hundreds of them in hearts twic* 
as kindly and honest as their own. Yet if men did not thus put 
a fictitious price on that which they covet, and pay it too, readily 
enough, what would become of romance, poetry, three-volume 
novels, the book of fashions, and the ladies' newspaper ? Cos- 
metics would be a drug, chignons unsaleable, jewellers might 
shut up shop, Madame Devy woidd be bankrupt, Madame 
Vigoureuse paralysed, and Madame Rachel in tke Bench. 

Such questions of demand and supply never occurred {« 


,.28 The WliiteRose. 

Gerard's aching heart. Sore and angry, he determined Norah 
was no longer worthy of her place in his breast, and resolved, 
therefore, unphilosophically enough, to make himself as miserable 
as he could during the rest of his life. He was one of those 
gentlemen, very scarce, they tell me, in the present day, who 
despise Moore's sagacious warning, — 

u 'Tis folly when flowers around us rise, 
To make light of the rest if the rose be not there, 
And the world is so rich in voluptuous eyes, 
'Twere a pity to limit one's love to a pair." 

Like a spoilt child whose favourite toy is broken, he declined to 
play any more, and refused to be comforted, 

There is a strange impulse in restless spirits, that urges them 
ever towards set of sun. "Westward ho!" seems the natural 
outcry of weariness and discontent. "You may go to h — 11 !" 
said the stump orator to his constituents, who had failed to 
re-elect him for Congress, "and I'll go to Texas!" Something 
of the same sentiment hardened Gerard's heart when he saw the 
round of fashion and amusement whirling about him in the 
gaiety of a London season ; that gaiety which, pleasant as it is, 
<eems such a bitter mockery to an empty or an aching heart. Of 
Texas, indeed, he had heard too much to make it his refuge, but 
for a few thousand pounds he bought a great many thousand 
acres in the neighbourhood of Buenos Ayres, and thither he re- 
solved to betake himself forthwith, fitting out for the purpose a 
goodly barque of considerable tonnage, which he proposed to 
command as captain and sailing-master, lading her with a cargo 
of " notions " that could not fail to make handsome profits, and 
selecting with great care a crew of honest, able-bodied "salts," 
such as it would be a pride and a pleasure to employ. " If 
anything can take the nonsense out of a fellow," thought 
Gerard, " it will be such a trip as this. Constant work, heavy 
responsibility, lots of foul weather, and then a bad bargain to 
make the best of, a life in the open air, and a score of half- 
broken horses to gallop about a farm of fifty thousand acres !" 

To this end he proceeded to dispose, by sale and gift, of the 
necessary articles constituting a bachelor's establishment in 
London. Two or three pictures, several boxes of cigars, a self- 
adjusting filter, the Racing Calendar complete, two bull-terriers, 
a piping bullfinch, a mail-phaeton, a circular brougham, several 
valuable canes, a harmonium, and a stud of hunters. 

,It was pleasant for Mrs. Vandeleur, reading the Morning Post 

Anodynes. 329 

at breakfast, to come on such an advertisement as this, from the 
pen of Messrs. Tattersall: — 

"To be sold without reserve, as the owner is about to leave 
England, the following horses, well known in Leicestershire, the 
property of Gerard Ainslie, Esq.," succeeded by a string of high- 
sounding appellations dwindling at last to " Jack and Gill, quiet 
in harness, and have been constantly driven together," and con- 
cluded by " Norah Creina, a favourite hack." 

"He might have kept her," thought Mrs. Vandeleur, "if only 
for the name! " but her eyes filled with tears, and to swallow 
them did not improve her appetite for breakfast. 

Their joint sorrow was unequally divided, the woman as usual 
having the larger share. Gerard sought relief in sheer hard work 
of mind and body. To a certain extent he found it. A long 
day passed at the docks, carefully overlooking fittings and repairs 
for his ship ; a dozen interviews with different merchants, all men 
of the strictest probity, but with whom it was " business " to get 
the better of him if he neglected to keep his eyes open; a hunt 
through Wapping and its purlieus, after, here a boatswain's mate, 
and there a ship's carpenter, with unceasing research for top-men, 
smart but not " cheeky," knowing their duty yet not wholly 
given over to drink, — these varied labours would sometimes tire 
him so completely that after an hour's smoking he was glad to go 
to sleep in his chair, only leaving it to toss and tumble through a 
wakeful night in bed. 

Then, mistaking fatigue of body for peace of mind, he would 
vote himself cured of his infatuation, and to prove it, even 
changed the barque's name, substituting for her humble appel- 
lation of the Simple Susan, a more suggestive title as the White 

He "pitied himself," as the French say, very deeply, and this 
form of sympathy is not without a spurious consolation of its 
own. His friends, too, afforded him the usual commiseration, 
vaguely wondering why they saw him so seldom, but accepting 
the loss of his society with resignation, and troubling themselves 
not at all about its cause. Dolly, entering the Club he most 
affected, about five o'clock in the afternoon, found a knot of 
intimates thus bewailing the absentee. 

" Has Ainslie got any sound horses amongst those wretches I 
saw to-day at Tattersall's ? I want two or three hunters if I can 
get my sort. Anybody know anything about any of them ? " 

The speaker was a stout florid young man, who looked rich, 
stupid, and good-natured. He loved hunting very dearly, was 

33° The White Rose. 

extremely well-mounted, very particular that l..s horses should 
be safe fencers, and equally careful only to ride them at safe 
places. As his friend and toady Mr. Agincourt, commonly 
called Blueskin, was wont to observe, " It seemed a good system, 
making the odds two to one in his favour." 

That gentleman laid down the Globe and rose from his chair. 
"There's one you ought to buy," said he dictatonally, for he 
understood his profession, and smoothed a patron s plumage from 
the higher standing-point ; " the chestnut with a thin tail ; 
' Bobstay ' they call him in the list. I saw him go last season 
from Gumley Wood to the Caldwell, right across the Langtons, 
and he never put a foot wrong ! I don't believe there's such 
another fencer in England. Ola Fly-by-night gave me two falls 
following him, in and out of the Harborough road. The 
distance isn't much, but I'll trouble you for the ' oxers.' No 
horse that can go straight in that country should slip through 
your fingers. I shall be at Tattersall's at any rate, and I'll bid 
for him if you like." 

"I suppose Ainslie don't ride much," observed the other, a 
gratuitous assumption enthusiastically repudiated by young Lord 

"Ride, Jerry!" exclaimed that outspoken nobleman; "I 
should just like to see you bound to follow him. Why he beat 
every man jack of us last March on a thorough-bred horse he calls 
Lucifer — the beggar they returned so often as unrideable — in that 
good run from ' John-o'-Gaunt.' There were only three fellows 
out of Melton got to the end, and I wasn't one of them, but he 
was. Ride, indeed! the only fa»lt I can find in his riding is 
that he's a turn too hard ! " 

"The more fool he," replied imperturbable Jerry. "Then, 
Blueskin, I think you and I will just pop in presently, and have 
a look at Bobstay. But why is he sending them up ? Is 
it a bond Jide sale, or does he only want to get rid of the 
drafts ? " 

"Don't you know?" observed an elderly smoke-dried man 
from the writing-table. "Do you mean to say you haven't 
heaid ? This Mr. Ainslie is but a man-of-straw, after all. What 
you young fellows call 'a chalk' performer. I don't believe he 
ever had a shilling more than two thousand a-year, and he's been 
living as if he'd twenty. Good fun, I dare say, while it lasted ; 
but result — smash ! Everything's to be sold — pianofortes, guinea- 
fowls, carriages, villa at Teddington, yacht at Cowes ; in shorr, 
the whole plant. Jerry needn't alarm himself about the horses. 

Anodynes. 33 1 

Take my word for it, they're not to be bought in, if they go for 
five pounds a-piece ! " 

" I think you re mistaken about the money," said Mr. Agin- 
court. "I've always understood he succeeded to a large fortune, 
but it was all in Blight's bank ; and when that broke, our friend 
' went his mucker ' with the others, and we shall never see him 
here again." 

" I'll take ten to one about that," interposed a young guards- 
man, solacing himself with a chicken sandwich and dry sherry. 
" I don't believe he'd money in Blight's bank, any more than I 
have in Cox's ! No, it's that American woman who has cleaned 
out Ainslie. What's her name ? This new actress coming out 
at the Accordion. Here s a fellow who'll tell us all about it. 
Dolly, what's the name of your new star, that you make such a 
row about, and why did you let her have a run at Ainslie first, 
instead of the other Jerry here, who's twice as big a fool with 
twice as big a fortune ? " 

" He's not a fool. He's not ruined. He's no more to do 
with Madame Molinara than you have," answered Dolly, 
honestly enough, and standing up as usual for his friend. " Why 
a fellow can't sell his horses and go abroad for a lark, without 
everybody swearing he's a blackguard and a sharper, is one of those 
scandals which beat me altogether, I confess. Ainslie's got six 
thousand a-year if he has a penny, and I don't believe he ever 
spoke to my new actress in his life ! " 

" Bravo, manager ! " shouted half-a-dozen voices. " That's 
right, Dolly. Stick up for the shop ! You only say so to defend 
the respectability of your theatre ! " 

Like a baited bull, Dolly turned from one to another of his 

"Ask Burton," said he, pointing to the latter, who had been 
sitting silent in a corner, behind the evening paper; "he 
knows all about him. Ask the Dandy, if you don't believe 

That gentleman pointed to his forehead. " Quite true," he 
replied, with a gentle smile of commiseration. " I have known 
poor Ainslie from a boy. He was always very queer. Not mad 
exactly ; at least not mad enough to be shut up ; but subject to 
fits of flightiness, you know, and alarmingly violent at times. 
It is best to get him abroad during these attacks, and I'm glad he 
is going. Poor fellow, it's very sad for himself and very painful 
to his friends ! " 

As usual, not for ten men who heard the slander, did one listen 

33$ The White Rose. 

to its contradiction — Dolly's indignant protest being lost in thfi 

uprising of the conclave to go and talk the whole thing over 
again, a mile and a-half off, in the Park. 



The Dandy was not mad, far from it, and nobody would have 
attributed his ruin to anything like want of caution or care for 
number one. Nevertheless, he was at this very period in the 
last stage of undeclared bankruptcy, having arrived at that hope- 
less poiut, so touchingly described in the well-known parody 
(perhaps the best of its kind ever written) on Locksley Hall : — 

" Credit shook the glass of Time, and drbbled out the golden sand, 
Every day became more valueless my frequent note of hand." 

Mr. Burton, to use an expression of the money-market, had 
"a good deal of paper out." Little of it, I fear, was of greater 
value than that which is made into tags for the tail of a kite. 
Certain of the tribe of Judah had already refused to look at it. 
They declared it "wouldn't wash," — an objection one would 
hardly have expected gentlemen of their appearance to entertain. 
His own Christian man of business, a respectable solicitor, had 
long ago given him up as a bad job. "Your position, my good 
sir," said that sagacious person, c: is beset with difficulties. I 
scarcely know what to advise, but, under all circumstances, the 
closest retrenchment is indispensable! " 

Now "the closest retrenchment" was exactly that form of 
amendment to which the Dandy was most averse. In his eyes, 
any other way of escape seemed preferable. His habits were 
formed now, and those indulgences, which once afforded such 
keen gratification as superfluities of luxury, had become daily 
necessities of life. It is not your thoughtless, reckless, devil- 
may-care spendthrift, who walks through his thousands, few or 
many, in a couple of London seasons and a winter at Rome, 
that feels the real pressure of poverty when his last hundred has 
vanished after the rest. No ; these graceless spirits are usually 
constituted with considerable energy, faultless digestions, and 
marvellous powers of enjoyment. The Lord Mayor, or the 
Pope, or somebody, gives them a lift when they least expect 
it | they turn their hands to work with as keen a zest as once 

fold out. 33 3 

they did to piay, and find as much fun in five shillings as they 
used to extract from five pounds. Such men often end by 
building up a fortune ten times as large as the one they kicked 
down. But the selfish, cold-blooded sensualist, the drone that 
loves the honey for its own sake, and thinks by superior cunning 
to over-reach the bees; the man of pleasure, who draws from 
every sovereign its twenty-shillings' worth of gratification, neither 
throwing away nor giving away a farthing, who calculates ex- 
travagance as others do economy, and deliberately -weighs the 
present indulgence against the coming crash, undeterred by the 
consciousness that pre-arranged insolvency is neither more nor less 
than swindling, he it is who discovers, to his cost, when money 
and credit are both gone, they have taken with them everything 
that makes life worth having, and left nothing in their place 
but a broken constitution, an enfeebled mind, a nerveless arm, 
and a diabolical temper. Such are the results of systematic 
pleasure-seeking, and for such ailments friends advise and doctors 
prescribe in vain. 

This deplorable state Dandy Burton, notwithstanding his 
enviable start in life, bade fair to reach at last. Latterly, as he 
told himself with bitter emphasis, for he confided in none else, 
everything had gone against him. His winnings on the Turf 
had been invested at high interest in a foreign railway, which 
must have paid admirably had it ever been constructed on any- 
thing but an engineer's plan. To meet his losses he had been 
compelled to borrow of the Jews. He bought a share in the 
best two-year-old of its own, or perhaps any other year, and in 
this transaction showed his usual judgment ; but the two-year- 
old broke its leg at exercise, and no amount of care or fore- 
thought could have prevented the catastrophe. A farm he sold 
realised less than was anticipated. A great -aunt, from whom 
he expected an opportune legacy, died suddenly, and " cut up," 
as he expressed it, far worse than anybody would have supposed. 
Then came powers of attorney, calling in of balances, mort- 
gaging of acres, and sale of reversions. Lastly, bills drawn, 
accepted, renewed : and so the clouds seemed to gather from 
each quarter of the heavens, ready to burst in a thunder-storm 
over his head. 

And all the time he had not the heart to forego the vainest 
pleasure, the resolution to give up the smallest luxury. He 
must keep his brougham, of course — no fellow could do without 
his brougham; and the tea-cart — every fellow had a tea-cart j 
also, it was impossible for the same animal to go in both. 

334 The IVkile Rose. 

Putting down the saddle-horses would be simpiy to advertise 
his ruin, and bring the Philistines on him at once. A stall at 
each opera-house seemed a positive economy, for where else 
could he pass the evening without spending more money ? The 
same argument held good regarding his share in the omnibus- 
box. Poole he didn't pay, of course,— that great and good man 
never expected it ; while bills for glove;, books, eau-de-Cologne, 
and such small personalities, were liquidated by fresh orders 
easily enough. He often considered the subject, and as often 
came to the conclusion that his habits were really regulated 
with due regard to economy, and there was no direction in 
which he could retrench. To leave off attending races would 
certainly save a few paltry "fivers " in railway fares; but then 
was it wise to lose the experience of a life-time, and miss, per- 
haps, the one good thing, that to pull off would put matters 
again almost on the square ? He certainly belonged to too 
many clubs, but out of which should he take his name, for the 
sake of the miserable ten-pound subscription he had paid his 
entrance-money on purpose to defray ? One was the only place 
in London where " fellows " were to be met with between four 
and five p.m. It would be a pity to leave another till that 
*34 claret was drunk out. At a third a man might ask a friend 
to dinnerj at a fourth, play whist for hundred pound points, 
if he fancied it ; at a fifth, smoke cigars in an atmosphere you 
could cut with a knife during any hour of the twenty-four; 
while a sixth boasted the unspeakable advantage that its members 
comprised all the stars of the literary world, though none of 
them ever seemed to go near it by day or night. Obviously, 
nothing in the way of retrenchment could be done as regarded 
clubs. Then his daily life, he argued, his own personal habits, 
were of the simplest and most ascetic. Chocolate was the only 
thing he ever could drink for breakfast, and it could surely be 
no fault of his that cigars were not to be bought fit to smoke 
under seventy shillings a pound. Turkish baths every day came 
cheaper than visits from a doctor, and nothing but those search- 
ing sudorifics enabled him to drink dry champagne, the only 
wine that really agreed with him now He might save a ten- 
pound note, perhaps, on the whole year, by dismissing Brown, 
to whom he paid unusually high wages; but then Brown saved 
him a fortune, he always reckoned, in many valuable receipts 
for varnish, hair-oil, shaving-soap, and such articles of the toilet ; 
while his system of never settling the valet's book till it rose 
to n hundred pounds, and then writing a cheque for the amount, 

Told out. 335 

spared him an infinity of trouble, and seemed a wise financial 
transaction enough. Brown, too, was an invaluaole servant in 
so many ways. Everybody wanted to engage a Brown. He 
knew the addresses of all his master's friends, the post-towns 
of every country-house they frequented, the stations at which 
fast trains stopped, and those where post-horses were not to be 
procured. Arriving late at his Grace's or my Lord's, or the 
Squire's, in five minutes dressing-things were laid out as if by 
magic — bath ready, towels aired, letters inquired for, all neces- 
sary information as to hours, habits, and guests, respectfully 
reported, while, however early a start might be made next 
morning, leathers appeared spotless, and guns oiled, as if Brown 
sat up all night. He could guess from the proposed "beat" 
what number of cartridges were likely to be shot away before 
luncheon ; and not another valet in Europe but Brown could 
tell whether a frost was too hard for hunting. It was a mystery 
how he found time to make acquaintance with all the ladies'- 
maids, and through them to learn so much about the doings of 
their mistresses. 

An invaluable servant, thought Burton — so quick, so quiet, so 
respectful, so trustworthy, such a good manner, and, above all, so 
devoted to his master's interests. Noj he could not afford to 
part with Brown ! 

So the Dandy wrote one or two letters which, notwithstand- 
ing his high opinion of the valet's fidelity, he resolved to post 
with his own hands ; and dressing scrupulously, as usual, saun- 
tered off to his club. 

Mr. Brown laid out his master's evening's clothes, shook, 
brushed, and folded those lately taken off, removed every speck 
from his own irreproachable costume, and proceeded to the 
house of call he most affected, where he ordered a glass of cold 
brandy-and-water, not too strong, with which he diluted the 
perusal of Bell's Life, not omitting to study the odds for a great 
race, on which many a nobleman would have liked to make as 
good a book as Mr. Brown's. 

His occupation was interrupted by a showily-dressed, flash- 
looking individual, with dark eyes, a good deal ot whisker, and a 
red face, who accosted him with great cordiality, and a pressing 
invitation to drink, calling for a bottle of champagne on the 
spot, which was promptly placed before them, boJi gentlemen 
preferring that pleasant wine out of ice. 

" Mr. Jacobs," said the valet, in his usual staid tones, " here's 
your good health. You're looking well, sir, and I'm glad to see 

foS The White Rose. 

our horse holds his own in the betting, though Tim telegraphs 
as he's done our commission at Liverpool." 

Mr. Jacobs leered with his fine eyes, and smiled with his ugly 
mouth. " Here's luck! " said ht. "We've pulled together in 
this here business strong, Mr. Brown, and it's the best thing as 
I've been in since Corkscrew's year. It's not half so good a 
game as it was then. There's plenty of flats left/' he added in 
a voice of plaintive regret j " but the fiats knows they is fiats 
now. Ah ! it's a great pity, it is. While as for the young ones 
— why there's never such a thing. It seems to me in these 
days they're all born with their wisdom-teeth cut, and their 
whiskers growed." 

Mr. Brown made no answer. His own wisdom-teeth had 
been through the gums many a long year, and kept his tongue 
habitually in their custody. The other, filling both glasses, pro- 
ceeded more cheerfully, " We might do a good stroke of busi- 
ness, you and me, Mr. Brown, suppose we worked together 
regular, with nothing to interfere. Why, as I was a-saying to 
' Nobby ' only last night at this here table, a man of your form 
is quite thrown away in such a profession as yours. There ain't 
no scope for you, not what I calls elbow-room. ' It's down- 
right foolery,' says Nobby. ' I wonder as Brown ain't sick and 
tired of it, and that's the truth !' " 

" I have some thoughts of retiring," answered Mr. Brown, 
who had indeed made his mind up long ago to the course he 
should adopt, and was only here now for what he could get. 
lf My 'ealth isn't quite what it used to be, and change of hair at 
the different meetings always does me a world of good. We 
might work it, as you say, Mr. Jacobs, you and me. We can 
depend on one another, can't us? " 

The dark eyes shot an eager glance in the speaker's face. 
" Then he is going !" exclaimed Mr. Jacobs, emptying his glass 
at a gulp. " I'm a straightforward chap, I am, and I never has 
no secrets from a pal. There isn't another man in the ring 
what I call so fair and above-board, as yours truly. Now I tell 
you what it is, Brown. I've calculated your ' boss ' to a day — 
I may say to an hour. I never gave him longer than the week 
after next. If he goes a minute sooner you'll tip me the office, 
won't you now ? Honour ! " 

He pulled a note-case from his breast-pocket, and thrust a 
crumpled piece of thin suggestive paper into Mr. Brown s un« 
resisting hand. That worthy never moved a muscle of hig 

" For ould lang syne." $$} 

"He bought a foreign ' Bradshaw,' " said he, "the day before 
yesterday. Mr. Poole, he sent in a lot of new clothes last nightt 
There s been three gentlemen and a horse-dealer to look at out 
hacks. More than that, he's posted five letters in the last two 
days himself. I'm sure of it, for I keep count of the envelopes 
in his writing-case, and there's the same number of postage- 
sta^Ds missing. I shall know, never fear, if he means bolting ; 
anu you can trust me as if it was yourself. No, I won't have 
another bottle, thank ye, Mr. Jacobs. I'm going out to tea 
directly. If there's anything fresh to-morrow, I'll drop you a 
line by post." 

So Mr. Brown walked leisurely off to his tea-party, and 
thence proceeded home to superintend his master's dinner-toilet, 
affording him the usual assistance in his usual quiet unobtrusive 
manner, with as much tact and forethought as if he had no 
other study on earth, nor intended to apply himself to anything 
else while he lived. The Dandy, dressing early and somewhat 
in haste for a club-dinner, reflected how impossible it would be 
to do without such a servant, and even pondered on the wisdom 
of confiding to his faithful valet the secret of his ruin, to afford 
him the option of accompanying his master at a lower rate of 
wa°:es into exile. 



Ip Gerard Ainslie, disgusted with life in general, and the White 
Hose in particular, took but little interest in his own play, now 
on the eve of representation, so culpable an indifference could 
not be said to extend to manager, actors, nor subordinates of the 
Accordion Theatre. The bills stated no more than the truth, 
wren they affirmed that scenery, dresses, decorations, &c, were 
all new. Full rehearsals had rendered the players exceedingly 
perfect in their parts, and although much dissatisfaction was 
expressed at 3 certain want of fire in the dialogue, not a word 
could be said in disparagement of the gorgeous costumes that 
decorated the very supernumeraries in such scenes as the Pope's 
universal benediction, or the Grand Chorus (upwards of a 
hundred voices) in front of the Cardinal's Palace. An illus- 
trative piece of music had also been written on purpose for the 
melodrama, that is to say- favourite airs from various opera*, 

33 s The White Rose. 

slightly altered, were tacked together, and playec a little faster 
than usual Every nerve was strained, every resource of the 
establishment exhausted to render Pope Clement, or the car' 
tUnal's Collapse, what is termed a success, and his whole com- 
pany seconded their manager's efforts with something more 
than common professional zeal, something due to the genial 
character and universal popularity of the man. Madame Molinara 
had shown herself indeed a little troublesome in occasional 
absence from rehearsal, and carelessness when there ; but nobody 
who saw her walk across the stage, even by daylight, could doubt 
she was a thorough artist, and understood the very smallest 
minutice of her profession. Dolly could not repress his raptures j 
much to that young lady's disgust, he even enlarged on the 
excellencies of his importation in presence of Miss Tregunter. 

" She can just act above a bit," exclaimed our enthusiastic 
manager. " If I'd only known of her six months sooner, before 
they gave her that exorbitant engagement at New York, she 
would have made all our fortunes, and I'd have got a trousseau 
of my own — • 

" Like other charmers, wooing the caress 
More dazzlingly, when daring in full dress. 
I won't go on — the sequel you can guess ! " 

Miss Tregunter very properly snubbed him no less for the 
glaring impropriety of his quotation, than the approval he chose 
to profess, " under the very nose," as she said, " of this detest- 
able Yankee! " 

Still Janey was woman enough to entertain no small amount 
of curiosity concerning Madame Molinara, and would have been 
exceedingly unwilling to miss that artist's first appearance. S>o 
she dined solemnly by daylight at Mrs. Vandeleur's house, 
expressly to be in time, but was compelled to forego her lover's 
attendance because that gentleman had contracted a previous 
engagement elsewhere. 

O fc> 

Nobody in London gave such pleasant little men-dinners as 
Dandy Burton. Professing keen interest in Gerard's play, he 
had long since obtained a promise from author and manager to 
dine early with him on the first night of its performance, that 
they might see it afterwards in company. He had reminded 
Gerard only that morning of his engagement, and the latter had 
agreed to join the dinner-party at least. Thus much lie felt due 
to his old fellow-pupil, with whom his conscience smote him 
that he .«hould be unreasonably aggrieved. "I won't Uj.ow vou 

"For auld tang syne." 339 

over," said he cordially. " I'm off in less than a week, and I 
don't think I shall ever come to England again." To which the 
other replied, hypocritically enough, " Good luck to you, my 
dear fellow, on either side the Atlantic. I trust we shall see you 
back again before next year's Derby ! " 

The Dandy having then secured Dolly Egremont's box, made 
up his party, ordered a little gem of a dinner for four at "The 
Vertnmnus," and felt his traps were now artfully set and baited j 
there was nothing more to be done but await the result. 

To-night would be his grand coup. To-night the appearance 
on a public stage of Gerard Ainslie's lawful wife could not but 
fall like a shell amongst the party collected in the manager's 
box. " Theresa," indeed, and " Cousin Charlie," might escape 
unwounded; but for Dolly and his future bride, must not such 
an exposure produce dismay and confusion of face ? For Gerard 
himself destruction — for Mrs. Vandeleur despair? By that lady's 
demeanour under the torture he would learn whether a chance 
existed of his own eventual success. " If not " — he stuck his 
hands in his pockets, ground an oath between his teeth, and 
paced across the strangers' room at "The Vertumnus" — "if 
not, I must make a bolt of it before Jacobs and his partner — 
whoever he is, d — n him ! — know anything about my move- 
ments. In the meantime, why don't these fellows come ? 
They made such a point of being early. Waiter ! get dinner 
directly! " 

Egremont and Ainslie arrived together ; the latter silent, out 
of spirits, preoccupied — the former in a state of intense bustle 
and excitement, looking so like the Dolly of former days on the 
eve of some holiday-making frolic, that even Burton's worldly 
heart warmed to him for the moment, and beat during half-a- 
dozen pulsations with the sanguine, sympathetic cordiality of 

"What a day for Archers! " he exclaimed, shaking each guest 
by the hand. "Dolly, I read victory on your brow; and as lor 
Jerry here, he looks a cross between Shakespeare and Sheridan. 
I've nobody to meet you but Tourbillon, and he's always late, 
so we won't wait a moment." 

As if to redeem his character for punctuality, the Count 
entered while he spoke, smiling, radiant, well dressed; looking 
prosperous, wicked, and on exceedingly good terms with himself. 
The soup, too, made its appearance; and the four men sat down 
ro get the most out of their short hour and a half before they 
were due at the theatre. 

34° The White Rose. 

When people meet, either at dinner or elsewhere, expressly 
to celebrate a particular event, or discuss a particular subject, I 
have always remarked the conversation drifts about in every 
other direction, so that the assemblage often oreaks up without 
having in any way furthered the object for which it was con- 
vened. On the present occasion, soup and whitebait were dis- 
cussed without eliciting anything of greater interest than a late 
Paris scandal from Tourbillon; but after a lobster rissole and 
second glass of champagne the guests became more talkative, 
and the Frenchman, turning to Gerard, observed with a meaning 
air completely lost on the other — 

" So you are off again, I understand, to make long voyages, 
great explorations — to bid farewell to England, to Europe? 
My faith ! I think you are right." 

Now, Gerard's first impulse, like that of any other right 
thinking person, had prompted him to leave the room the 
moment Tourbillon entered it. You can't well sit down to 
dinner with a man who ran away with your wife, even after 
many years' interval ; neither can you reasonably pick a fresh 
quarrel with him, the old one having been disposed of, because 
you have both accepted invitations to the same party. It speaks ill 
for Gerard's frame of mind that with a moment's reflection he 
dismissed his first idea, and elected to remain. He was so rest- 
less, so unhappy, altogether in so excited a state, that he cared 
little what might happen next, and even looked forward to the 
possibility of a row arising out of their juxtaposition, into which 
he could enter, with savage zest. 

All this Dandy Burton had calculated to a nicety, when he 
meditated such a solecism as to place these twc men at the same 
table. Anything that should put Gerard "off his head," as the 
saying is, before the grand final exposure at the theatre, would 
count very much in favour of his own manoeuvres. He was 
therefore prepared for an explosion, and somewhat disappointed 
at its failure. The Count, it is needless to observe, accepted 
the situation with his usual good-humoured sang-froid, simply 
addressing Mr. Ainsl' as a pleasant acquaintance with whom he 
was not on very intimate terms. 

The latter grew brighter and kindlier under the influence of 
wine. Even now, in his misery, it rendered him neither morose 
nor quarrelsome. Something, too, in the absurdity of the whole 
position struck him as irresistibly comical, and he almost laughed 
in the Frenchman's face while he replied to his observation. 
After that, of course, there could be no more question of a 

" R>r auld long syne' 341 

quart el, and they remained perfectly good friends till the 

" I sail this day week," said Gerard, cheerfully. " I've got 
the best-built, best-fitted, best-found barque between London 
Docks and Deptford. Won't you take a cruise with me, 
Count ? I'll give you a berth. Will either of you fellows 
come? It is but a stone's-throw across the Atlantic, if you're 
in anything like a craft ; and the climate of South America is 
the finest in the world. Come, won't you be tempted ? " 

"Who's to take my book on the Leger?" asked Burton, 
wishing in his heart he might not be compelled to leave England 
whether he liked it or not. 

" Who's to manage my theatre ? " said Dolly, with his mouth 

" And who is to write plays for it when Monsieur Enslee is 
gone? " added the Count, bowing courteously over the glass he 
lifted to his lips. 

" Plays !" exclaimed the manager. "After 10-night no more 
plays need be written for the British public. I venture to pre- 
dict that Pope Clement, as I have put it on the stage, will be 
the great triumph of the season. I tell you, I shall be disap- 
pointed if it don't run a hundred nights, and go down as good 
as new into the provinces afterwards." 

" Here's success to it !" said Burton. " Give me some cham- 
pagne. Why, Jerry, who would have thought of your turning 
out a great dramatic author when we were all at Archer's 
together ! We considered him stupid as a boy, Count, I give you 
my honour. It only shows how people are deceived." 

" Monsieur Enslee has seen a great deal since those days," 
observed Tourbillon. " To dramatise them, a man should have 
exhausted the passions. It is but anatomy, you see, my friends, 
studied on the nerves and fibres of the surgeon's own body. 
How painful, yet how interesting ! " 

"Not the least painful !" answered Gerard, laughing ; "and 
to the author, at least, anything but interesting. Only a bore, 
Count, while he works at it, and a disappointment when it is 

"Ah, bore!" replied the Count ; "that is an English disease 
— Incurable, irremediable. The philosopher has migraine, he has 
grippe, but he knows not what is understood by bore. I think 
the bore, as you call it, of you authors, is often worn like a 
pretty woman's veil, to hide the blush of some real feeling that 
a false shame tells her to suppress," 

?4» The White Rose. 

As far as Ainslie was concerned, the Count's arrow reached iti 
mark. Of interest, indeed, m his own plot, he might have 
none ; but it was false to say there was no pain connected with 
it. Every line, every word, was more or less associated in his 
mind with the woman he had loved so long, and whom he had 
determined to see no more. He wished the play at the devil, 
wished he had never written it, never thought of it ! Wished 
he was fairly across the Atlantic, and the next two months were 
past ! Then something smote at his heart, and told him that 
henceforth there would be a blank in his life. So he emptied 
his glass, and called for more champagne. 

" We must make the best use of our time," said the host, at 
this juncture. " Dolly is getting fidgety already. He sees an 
impatient audience, a company without a captain, and a gallery 
1 overt rebellion. Suppose you got drunk, Dolly, and didn't 
go at all ? What would happen ? " 

"The supposition involves an impossibility," answered Egre- 
mont, gravely; ' but they'd pull the house down — that's what 
would happen." 

"You don't mean it!" replied the other. "What a lark it 
would be! Waiter, coffee in five minutes. Just one glass of 
that old Madeira, and we'll start. I have places, as you know, 
for you all — Dolly has kindly lent me his box." 

" I thank you," said the Count ; " I shall enter later. I have 
taken a stall," 

" 1 don't think I shall go," observed Gerard carelessly, and 
opening his cigar-case. 

"Not go!" exclaimed Dolly, in accents of unaffected dis- 

" Not go ! " echoed Burton, beholding, as he thought, the 
whole fabric he had taken such trouble to erect crumbling in 

"You're sure to make a mess of it the first night," argued 
Gerard. " Grooves stiff — scenes awry — actors nervous — prompter 
audible — and fiddles out of tune. Besides, how shall I look if 
they hiss it off the stage ? " 

"And how shall I look," expostulated Dolly, "if they call 
for the author and I can't produce him? They'll pull the 
house down ! My dear fellow, you don't know what it is ! 
Under any circumstances, my theatre seems destined to destruc- 
tion this blessed night ! Fifty thou— gone ! Well, it might 
have been worse ! " 

They all laughed, and Ainslie looked inclined to give way. 

The Manager's Box. 343 

"You are right," said the Count, who, in the plentitude of 
his good nature, really wished to spare Gerard the pain in store 
for him, should he recognise, in the Madame Molinara, from 
whom so much was expected, his runaway wife. " I shall go 
late. I am not like our friend here, to whom five minutes' 
delay must cost fifty thousand pounds. Ah! blagueur! I shall 
smoke one cigar ; you will stay and smoke with me. I tell you, 
my friend, it is better." 

Something admonitory, almost dictatorial, in the Count's 
tone, jarred on the other. Ainslie's frame of mind was that in 
which men start off at a tangent from anything like advice, 
resenting it as they would coercion. 

" I don't see why," he answered rather shortly. " I shall have 
plenty of time to smoke between this and the Accordion. After 
all, hang it ! I ought to stick by the manager. I'm ready, 
Dolly, if you are. Count Tourbillon, I wish you a good even- 

Burton said not a word. The judicious angler knows when 

to let his fish alone, giving it line, and suffering it to play itself. 
The Count looked a little surprised, but attributed Gerard's 
unexpected abruptness to the champagne. 

" II parait qu'il a le vin mauvais. C'est eg..l ! " said he; and, 
undisturbed by the departure of the others, proceeded to smoke 
a tranquil cigar in solitude. 



The Accordion, from its front row of stalls to the extreme verge 
of its gallery under the very roof, was one dense mass of faces, 
all turned eagerly towards the stage. Playgoing people had been 
subsisting for a long time on musical extravaganzas, of which 
the extravagance outdid the music; far-fetched burlesques, of 
little humour and less wit; drowsy readings from Shakespeare; 
translations ill-translated; and adaptations, worse adapted, from 
the French. The public were hungry for a real, old-fashioned 
melodrama once more, with love, murder, glittering swords, 
stage jewellery, frantic dialogue, and appropriate action. They 
longed to see the stride, the strut, the stop, — a scowling villain, 
a daring lover, — a Gothic hall, a moonlit pass, — above all, an 
injured heroine, now tearful and dishevelled, with pale face and 


344 The White Rose. 

hollow eyes, despairing at the back ; anon, radiant in smiles, 
white satin, and imitation pearls, exulting before the foot-lights, 
victorious over insult and oppression, triumphantly to vindicate 
the first principle of stage morality, that " Beauty can do no 

This starving public then — through the medium of posters, 
newspaper advertisements, men in cardboard extinguishers, and 
other modes of legitimate puffing — had been informed that its 
cravings were at last to be satisfied, in a grand, new, original 
melo-drama called Pope Clement ; or, the Cardinal's Collapse. 
Critics whispered one another that this was none of your foreign 
plagiarisms, altered only in costume and language, but a real 
novelty — startling of action, replete with incident, and — well — 
yes, m. had been pruned to a certain extent, for in these days, 
you understand, an author cannot be too careful. But, although 
the moral was doubtless unimpeachable, some of the situations 
might seem, perhaps, to an English audience, a little — what shall 
we say ? — unusual, but nothing the least indelicate — far from it. 
Can we wonder that the famished public rushed incontinently 
to their meal? 

Dolly Egremont, too, who had learned his trade by this time 
pretty perfectly, kept up the right amount of mystery regarding 
his American actress, identifying her skilfully enough with the 
new melodrama in which she was to appear. He also told 
several friends, under promise of inviolable secrecy — a manner of 
advertising only second to the columns of the Times — that this 
much-talked-of piece was the production of their acquaintance, 
Gerard Ainslie, who, from feelings of modesty, did not wish his 
name to be made known ; that it was by far the best thing out 
for many years j that even the actors at rehearsal could not for- 
bear their applause; that the dresses had cost him three times 
as much as dresses ever cost a treasury before; and that soft 
music would play continuously throughout Jhe whole action of 
the piece. 

A thrilling drama — a new actress — a dandy playwright — and 
a liberal manager ! What more could be desired ? 

The bait took, the public were tempted, and the house filled. 
Dolly Egremont, peeping through a hole in the curtain, posi- 
tively shook with mingled nervousness and delight while he 
Tr? j- - the overflow ' and reflected that his check-takers were 
stm driving supplicants away unsatisfied from the doors. 

Tovinfev^f ° ne - 1? 3 * ° f the h ° Use ' h ™ever, on which th« 
tovmg eye of cupidity, even in a manager, could linger without 

The Manager's Box. 34$ 

counting profits or returns. For a few seconds it rested on his 
own box, and Dolly Egremont forgot that the world or the 
theatre contained an object besides Jane Treguntei, dressed in 
pink — a colour which to other eyes than a lover's might have 
appeared a little too bright for her complexion, a little too 
juvenile for her years. 

It is with that box we also have to do. Let us imagine our- 
selves impalpable, invisible, jammed into a corner under the peg 
on which the White Rose has hung up her bernouse. She has 
taken a place in front, furthest removed from the stage ; perhaps 
because there is a nook behind it containing the worst seat in 
the box, and likely therefore to remain vacant the longest. No 
chance is so minute as to be neglected in a woman's calculations. 
Mrs. Vandeleur looks very pale, and her manner is more restless 
than usual, while the gloved hand that holds her opera-glasses 
would shake ridiculously but for her clenching it so tight. All 
the party have not yet arrived. Cousin Charlie, indeed, an 
ensign in the Guards, has made his appearance, and already told 
them the whole plot and history of the play, with comments of 
his own, facetious, not to say disrespectful ; for Charlie, like 
many of his kind, possesses unflagging spirits, any amount of that 
self-reliant quality which the rising generation call "cheek," 
imperturbable good-humour, very little sympathy with anything 
or anybody, and no faculty of veneration whatever. "Theresa," 
ten years older than himself — which, after all, scarcely makes 
her thirty — takes him up, as she calls it, and pets him con- 
siderably j laughing at his nonsense while encouraging his im- 
pertinence, treating him with a regard almost as demonstrative 
as she shows towards her bullfinch, and with about as much respect 
as she entertains for her poodle ! 

Miss Tregunter, because she disapproves of Dolly's connection 
with the Accordion, superintends the whole ceremony, as it 
were, under protest, yet cannot but feel a certain accession of 
dignity in her own position, and has never perhaps looked on 
theatrical matters with so indulgent an eye as to-night. 

Cousin Charlie disappears to return with half-a-dozen play- 
bills, which he distributes, not without buffoonery, venturing 
even to address a far-fetched witticism to Norah, but recoiling a 
good deal chilled from the cold, absent expression of that lady's 
face, who has not indeed heard a syllable, to take refuge with 
Theresa, and whisper in her willing ear that ' f Mrs. V has got 
her back up about something, and he can guess why, but he isn't 
going to say." 

34<5 The White Rose. 

The orchestra strikes up. A child in the gallery begins to 
cry ; its removal in such a crowd is no more possible than to 
fake away the great glittering chandelier from the middle of the 
roof. An unfeeling joker suggests, " Throw it over!" The 
audience cry, " Hush ! " " Silence ! " " Order ! " Fainter 
and fainter the fiddles die off 5 the music sinks and swells and 
sinks again, into harmony such as an imaginative mind, predis- 
posed by the play-bills, might fancy the resemblance of a 
morning breeze ; and with a fresh burst, which Norah, pre- 
occupied as she is, thinks not unlike something she has heard 
long ago in David's symphony of The Desert, the curtain rises 
on a "Sunrise in the Campagna" — wide plains, distant moun- 
tains, classic ruins, white oxen, flat-capped women, peasants 
cross-gartered, garlands, grapes, and garnishing all complete. 

The scene reflects great credit on the stage carpenters. The 
audience, prepared to be pleased, applaud loudly. Norah' s 
thoughts have travelled back, Heaven knows why, to the marshes 
about Ripley, and the box-door opening, with considerable bustle, 
announces a fresh arrival. By no small effort she concentrates 
her whole attention on the play. 

She has quite lost the clue to its opening, nevertheless. 
Already the peasants have dispersed j the scene has changed to a 
street in Rome, where a "typically-developed" monk, with 
round stomach and red nose, is accepting a purse of zecchins — 
ringing and chinking with a rich luxuriance money never seems 
to possess in real life — from " a Gallant " (no other word 
expresses the character), wearing a black mask, long boots, a 
wide hat, a drooping feather, an ample cloak, and huge spurs 
that jingle as he walks. 

Mrs. Vandeleur's ear, quickened by anxiety, recognises a man's 
heavier tread close behind her. Pooh ! it's only Mr. Burton ! 
She turns to shake hands with him civilly and even cordially. 
What does it matter ? What does anything matter now ? The 
Dandy's manner is perfect of its kind — guarded, conventional, 
the least thing penitent ; interested, yet exceedingly respectful. 

"Thank you so much for coming," is all he says, and proceeds, 
gracefully enough, to pay his respects to the other ladies in the 
box. Heavy and sore at heart, Norah turns her face once more 
towards the stage. 

" You must listen to this," observes Burton, for the general 
benefit ; " it's almost the best thing in the play. I'm so glad 
we're in time. I know Dolly's on tenter-hooks now. HewoulrJ 
never have forgiven us if we had missed it." 

The Manager s Box. 34J 

By twos, and fours, and sixes, the manager's whole force, 
supernumeraries and all, are trooping on the stage. Great masses 
of red and white group themselves artistically in the old Roman 
street, over which a judicious arrangement of gas sheds all the 
warmth and glare of real Italian sunshine. It i& impossible to 
detect where the human figures end and the painted crowd 
begins. Deeper and deeper that gorgeous phalanx gathers, and 
still, by a waving movement never discontinued, the effect is 
gained of an ever-increasing multitude massed together in the 
streets and squares of a city. Processions of white-robed priests 
and acolytes wind in stately measure through the midst ; censers 
are swinging, choristers chanting, waving banners and massive 
croziers are borne to the front. It is the great scenic triumph 
of the play, and a burst of grand music appropriately heralds its 
exhibition to the audience. While she looks and listens, Norah's 
heart seems very full ; but a quiet sensation of repose steals over 
her, and she attributes it, perhaps, to the influence of those 
exalted strains, rather than to an instinctive consciousness of his 
presence whom she still so dearly loves. 

His sleeve just touches her shoulder as he slides into that 
vacant seat in the dark corner which nobody has thought it 
worth while to occupy. He has come in very quietly after 
Burton, and the attention of the whole party being riveted on 
the stage, his arrival remains unnoticed. How is it that Norah 
knows Gerard Ainslie is within a foot of her before she dare 
turn her face to look — that face no longer pale, but blushing 
crimson to the temples? He does not see it. He sees nothing 
but a dazzling vision of lavender and black lace and grey gloves, 
and a white flower nestling in coils of golden chestnut hair j 
but he is conscious that the blood is rushing wildly to his own 
brow, and his heart aches with a keen thrilling sensation of 
delight, utterly unreasonable, and actually painful in its intensity. 

Author as he is too — the first night of his play and all — yet 
has he quite forgotten drama, theatre, actors, the manager's 
anxiety, his own literary fame, and the ostensible reason for his 
being there. This is no imaginary sorrow, that must henceforth 
darken all his future; no fictitious passion that has endured 
through his whole past, that still so completely enslaves himj he 
is trembling with a mad causeless happiness even now. 

Their whispered greeting was of the coldest, the most com- 
monplace, but something in the tone of each struck the same 
chord, called forth the same feeling, Theur eyes met, and in an 
i 2 it Norah slid her hand in his, while both felt that in spita 

^48 The White Rose. 

of doubt, anxiety, alienation, so much that had seemed harshj 
unjust, inexplicable, their true feelings remained unchanged, un 

Mrs. Vandeleur dared not trust her voice, and Gerard was the 
first to speak. His face looked very sad, and his tone, though 
kindly, was sorrowful in the extreme. 

" I'm so glad to have seen you again to-night. But I should 
not — I could not have sailed without wishiiig you good-bye." 

"Sailed!" she gasped. "Good-bye! What do you mean ? 
Where are you going, and when ? " 

"To South America," he answered, simply. "We shall be at 
sea in less than a week." 

All this in a low subdued voice, but they could have spoken 
out loud had they pleased, for burst after burst of applause now 
shook the very walls of the theatre, and excited spectators wav- 
ing fans, handkerchiefs, opera-glasses, rose tumultuously in their 
places, to welcome the great American actress, at this moment 
making her first appearance before a British public. 

From his ill-contrived corner Gerard could see so little of the 
performance that he might indeed have left the box without 
further enlightenment, but that Mrs. Vandeleur, hurt, confused, 
dismayed, could think of nothing better than to make room for 
him, and direct his attention to the stage. 

The scene, representing the confessional of a cathedral, left 
nothing to be desired in architectural grandeur and florid decora- 
tion. Madame Molinara, as Violante, about to relieve her con- 
science from a heavy list of theatrical sins, came forward with 
peculiar dignity of gait and gesture, enveloped from head to foot 
in a long white veil. Even Mrs. Vandeleur could not have 
recognised her under its folds. Gerard applauded like the rest, 
and observed to his companion, " You can see she is an actress 
by the way she walks across the stage ! " 

Round after round, the well-trained artist sustained that 
deafening applause without being tempted to destroy the illusion 
of the piece by abandoning her dramatic character ; but at 
length the enthusiasm reached such a height, that to delay its 
acknowledgment would have seemed alike uncourteous and 
ungrateful. The star came forward to the footlights, raised her 
veil, and executed a curtsey to the very ground. 

Then, indeed, the excitement became a tumult. A storm of 
bouquets burst upon the stage, besides one that fell short of its 
mark, and only reached the big drum in the orchestra. Shouts 
of " Irava ! " resounded from pit and boxes, while repeated calls 

fcxit. 3 49 

OH the band to strike up " Yankee-Doodle " pealed from the 
gallery j but through it all there came to Norah's ear a hoarse 
whisper, as of one in extremity of pain, and every syllable smote 
like a knell upon her heart. 

" Believe me," it said, "I did not know of this. You must 
feel I could never have so insulted you. It is well I am to leare 
England. My own — my only love — may God in heaven bless 
you. We shall never meet again ! " 

And this while Cousin Charlie and Theresa and the others, 
three feet off, were laughing and jesting and criticising the new 
actress. Her eyes, her arms, her ankles, the depth of her curtsey, 
and the general turn of her draperies. 

Norah heard the box door shut, and then lights, audience, 
stage, pit, boxes, all seemed to swim before her eyes. 

" Mr. Burton," said she, in a faint voice, putting out her hand, 
with that helpless gesture of entreaty peculiar to the blind, 
" will you take me out ? I desired my carriage to wait. Would 
you mind asking for it ? The gas or something makes me feel 
ill." And so, rejecting every kindly offer of assistance and com- 
panionship pressed on her by Theresa and Miss Tregunter, 
Norah left the box, and descended the private staircase of the 
theatre, arm-in-arm with the man she most disliked in London, 
conscious only that she was vaguely grateful to somebody, it 
mattered not to whom, for the relief it afforded her to get 



For the convenience of its manager, the Accordion possessed a 
private door, opening on a quiet narrow street, and here Mrs. 
Vandeleur's carriage was found in waiting according to orders. 
The fresh air revived its mistress almost immediately. She im- 
plored Burton to rejoin his party without delay, a request that 
gentleman had the good taste to accord at once, congratulating 
himself, it must be admitted, that so far at least his scheme had 
been tolerably successful. 

Returning to the box, he found Gerard Ainslie too had 
vanished. Nobody else was sufficiently anxious about Mrs. 
Vandeleur to press him with further questions, when he observed 
quietly, " She was suffering from a bad headache, so he had 

35« The While Rose. 

packed her up in her carriage and sent her home." In truth, 
these, like the rest of the spectators, conld spare attention fot 
nothing but the all-engrossing business of the stage. 

The long-drawn aisles of its scenic cathedral had been darkened 
so skilfully, as to convey an idea of dim religious grandeur, and 
vast architectural space. A few wax-tapers twinkled through 
the gloom. Violante, her white veil fallen from her brow, her 
black hair dishevelled on her shoulders, knelt with clasped liands 
and wild imploring eyes before the love-stricken Cardinal, while 
enumerating the catalogue of her sins. It was to the credit ot 
our old friend Mr. BruiF, — we beg his pardon, Mr. Barrington 
Belgrave, — that although he recognised her at rehearsal, he had 
respected the incognita of his former pupil. It was also to his 
credit that on the present occasion he abstained from his cus- 
tomary rant. The tones of repressed passion in which he addressed 
her as " my daughter," the shiver, admirably controlled, that 
shook him from head to heel, when she besought his bless- 
ing, must have elicited its meed of applause then and there, but 
for the invincible attraction of the penitent herself. Those low 
tones of hers, from which intense power of histrionic genius had 
purged all provincialism of expression or accent, vibrated to every 
heart ; and many an eye was wet with tears, while the whisper 
— for it was scarcely more than a whisper — thrilled through the 
whole house, that told how the beautiful Italian struggled with 
her sin, and her despair. 

" So when entreaty comes, 
Not like an angel, all in robes of light, 
Nor hero nodding from a golden car ; 
But earthly-troubled, weary, worn, and sad, 
Yet for defeat the prouder ; — and the eyes, 
The haunting eyes, draw tears from out my heart, 
Pleading an endless, hopeless, wordless gnef ; 
Must I not pity, Father ? " 

Well, it is not with her we have to do, with the successful 
actress in the crowded, lighted theatre, holding hundreds 
entranced by the recital of her fictitious woes. No. It is with 
"Jie lonely suffering woman outside in the dark deserted street, 
pressing her temples hard against the cushions of her carriage, 
weeping bitter tears in solitude, yet not so bitter as to flow un- 
mingled with a spring of consolation in the thought that, now 
as ever, for good and evil, in spite of all that had come and gone, 
through shame, sorrow, and separation, her image was still 
cherished, still worshipped, still beloved ! 

EsiL 351 

Yes, it was impossible to mistake those tones of passionate, 
heart-felt despair in which he bade her farewell. Not the most 
consummate power of acting, not his own wife's, could have 
feigned the quiet weariness of desolation that spoke in every one 
of those half-dozen words. Her tear's flowed faster while she 
recalled their tender, unreproachful sadness, their meek, undying 
love, and brain grew clearer, heart stouter, as she wept on. He 
should not part like this ! No, not if she waited in that dismal 
street all night! Of womanly reserve, and womanly pride, the 
White Rose cherished more than her share. To a presuming 
suitor none could, nor would, have dealt a shrewder rebuff; but 
here was an emergency in which, to the false shame of a moment, 
might be sacrificed the repose — more, the very purpose of a life- 
time. She must go mad, she felt, if he went away without her 
seeing him again, to ask what had happened? how she had 
offended him ? why this change had grown up between them ? 
and to tell him that, though she was well satisfied to lose him 
for ever, because of justice and right, nothing here, nor hereafter 
— no, not a hundred wives — should drive him from the place 
he had always held (yes, always ! though she had been so cruelly 
false to him), and always should hold in her heart. 

After that, she thought, it would be much easier to give him 
up, and perhaps in time this woman would amend, and make 
him a devoted wife. 

Far off in the future might be a life of success, usefulness, and 
even domestic comfort, for Gerard ; while, for herself! — well, 
it mattered little what became of her. She was no Roman 
Catholic, or the refuge would have occurred to her of a cloister. 
At present poor Norah felt as if she could never be at rest but 
in the tomb. 

Meanwhile she waited on, watching the door from which she 
expected Gerard every moment to emerge. And, though while 
she so eagerly desired it, she half dreaded the interview as 
positively their last, time lengthened itself out till she began 
to feel growing on her senses the unrealised horror, the vague 
apprehension of a dream. 

Suddenly, with a start, she thrust her delicate, bare head from 
the carriage window, and observed that a couple of foot-passen- 
gers had stopped mid-way in the crossing at the end of the 
street. Their faces looked very pale under a glare of gaslight j 
their attitudes expressed curiosity and consternation. Great- 
coated policemen, too, hurried rapidly past, vouchsafing no 
answer to the eager inquiries poured ou them. Presently the 

S5 2 The White Rose. 

trampling of many footsteps rained along tne adjacent street, 
and smothered, scuffling noises came from the theatre itself. 
Then, even ere Norah could frame the idea suddenly presented 
to her mind, it was substantiated by that thrilling cry which, 
more than any other alarm, seems to paralyse the boldest hearts, 
habituated to every other extremity of danger. "Fire! fire!" 
was shouted, loud and clear. She could not be mistaken j she 
was sure of it before the startling words had been taken up and 
re-echoed by a hundred voices. Listening with strained, horror- 
stricken attention, Norah could hear a suppressed stir and bustle 
inside the theatre, rising to wild tumultuous confusion, and 
subsiding again as quickly in an unaccou-xable calm, while 
over all arose long, swelling bursts of harmony from the grand, 
majestic music of the march in Faust. 

Robert Smart, in attendance on his mistress, turned a very 
white, helpless face towards the carriage-window, and it is 
possible that at this juncture may have dawned on him some 
vague intention of going to inquire what had happened. If so, 
it was put to immediate flight by the appearance, at the 
manager's door, of the manager himself, pale as death, haggard, 
disordered, trembling all over, yet preserving that presence of 
mind which seldom deserts those who are accustomed to trust 
in their own resources and to act for themselves. His hair, 
whiskers, and eyelashes were singed, his gloves and dress dis- 
coloured, scorched, and smelling strongly of firej about him, 
too, there clung a faint, fearful odour as of roasted flesh. 
Utterly aghast though he looked, into his eyes came a gleam 
of satisfaction when they rested on the carriage. " How pro- 
vidential ! " he exclaimed. " Mrs. Vandeleur, a frightful acci- 
dent has happened. They are bringing it out here." 

It ! was there no hope then ? Her heart stopped beating 
while he spoke ; but she leapt out unhesitating, and intimated 
to him — more in dumb show than words — that her carnage 
should be at his and the sufferer's disposal. Ere he could thank 
her, Gerard Ainslie, Mr. Bruff and two more actors — these three 
still in the costumes of the parts they had been playing — moved 
heavily and carefully through the doorway, bearing amongst 
them, covered over with a cloak, a shapeless bundle of rags, 
shreds, stage jewellery, and human suffering, that had been a 
beautiful woman and a consummate actress but ten minutes ago! 
Making room for these on the pavement, Mrs. Vandeleur 
was touched by Gerard's shoulder as he passed. She did nof 
yet understand the catastrophe, though it was a relief to leara 

After long yeats. 5 £$ 

rhat he, at least, seemed safe. "Who is it?" she asked; and 
even at such a time the well-known voice caused him to turn 
21 is head. " It is my wife," he answered, and she found herself 
thinking she had never heard him speak in that strange, hoarse 
tone before. " Gerard," she whispered very softly, and laid 
her hand unconsciously on his shoulder; "every moment is 
precious ! Take her home at once to my house." 

A doctor was already in attendance. He and Gerard lifted 
the poor actress, now moaning feebly in extremity of pain, into 
the carriage, while Norah — roused to all her natural energy 
under pressure of emergency — hailed a passing Hansom, wound 
herself into it just as she was, with bare head and evening dress, 
to dash home and get everything ready, only pausing an instant 
for the despatch of Robert Smai t , who recovered his wits slowly, 
in another direction, to secure fresh advice and more assistance. 

So poor Fanny was carried helplessly off to the very house of 
all others in London which, perhaps, she would have been most 
loth to enter of her own free will, and Gerard Ainslie found 
himself, under a new and frightful complication of circum- 
stances, crossing once more that well-known threshold, at which 
he had thought to lay down, once for all, every hope of happiness 
he had cherished upon earth. 



Day after day poor Fanny lingered on, suffering less, perhaps, 
of physical pain than if her case had been more hopeless from 
the first. Doctors looked grave, and shook their heads, but 
ordered brandy, stimulants, opiates, nevertheless; everything to 
relieve pain, to arouse vitality, and to sustain strength. Still 
she pined and faded gradually away, lying for hours together in a 
state of utter unconsciousness and stupor, varied at intervals, 
further and further apart, by a vague longu.g restlessness, that 
produced fever and exhaustion. She could only speak in whispers, 
and even such weak efforts were attended with considerable 
exertion, but her large black eyes, glowing and beautiful with 
the light that is kindled in some other world than this, would 
follow Norah about the sick room, with a touching wistful gaze, 
that seemed to implore forgiveness, while it expressed remorse, 
gratitude, and affection. 

3,;, 4 Th e WMte Rose. 

Mrs. Vandeleur scarcely left her side, and, indeed, the poor 
sufferer grew very desponding and querulous when she missed the 
gentle touch that anticipated ah her wants, and the kind loving 
eyes that never looked upon her but with sympathy, forgiveness 
and compassion. 

Here were two women, each of whom had injured the other 
in her dearest hopes, her deepest and most sacred affections ; but 
one had learned those lessons of resignation and self-sacrifice by 
which mortals must be trained for immortality. And the other 
was even now trembling on a shore, where much that seemed 
so necessary in her journey was to be discarded and abandoned 
as but vain incumbrance for her future voyage on the silent sea 
— so vague, so dark, so cold, so terrible to all. Yet over its 
dreary surface is there not shed a light from the shining form 
of Him who walks upon the waters and stretches out a hand 
to save the weakest of us ere we sink into an unfathomable 

These two had forgiven each other their injuries, as they hoped 
themselves to be forgiven. There was nothing between them 
now but peace, and confidence, and good-will. I suppose if 
patients were doctors they, too, would err on the side of timidity, 
and shrink with professional caution from anything in the shape 
of responsibility. The best advice in London forbade all excite- 
ment as most injurious to the sufferer, and peremptorily inter- 
dicted Fanny from the visits or her Husband. At last, however, 
on one occasion, when, after an exceedingly bad night, the 
invalid had prayed very earnestly for a few minutes' conversa- 
tion with Gerard, three wise men, whose faces looked wiser and 
more solemn than usual, announced that her petition might be 
granted, and then Mrs. Vandeleur knew that there was no longer 
any hope. 

It lasted but a short time, that interview between husband 
and wife, the first for long years of separation, never to be 
repeated here on earth. No one else was present, and mutual 
forgiveness, penitence, reconciliation, whatever took place, re- 
mained, as they ought to remain, without witness and without 
record ; only, weak as she was, Fanny's tones could be heard 
uninterrupted for many minutes consecutively, as if she were 
arguing and expostulating on some subject very near her heart, 
so that when Gerard left the room, pale, trembling, with tearful 
eyes, and she called him back once more to her bedside, the last 
words she ever spoke to her husband were heard plainly by, at 
least, one mourning listener, through the half-closed door. 

After long years. 3$$ 

'Then you've promised, dear, and I'm easy. It's the only 

way to undo all the harm I've done you ; and you'll be happy, 

Gerard, never fear. You're young still, you know — young for 

a man. And I couldn't have made you the right sort of wife — 

not if it was ever so. I wasn't brought up to it. And, Gerard, 

dear, in Ripley churchyard, as I said, close to father — d'ye 

mind? I'm tired now — I think I'll take a sleep. God bless 

you, Gerard ! Perhaps I'll see you to-morrow — perhaps, dear, 

I'll never see you again ! " 

• ••••• 

It is easy to understand how a lady of Miss Tregunter's 
wealth, fashion, and general pretensions could only be married 
at such a church as St. George's or St. James's, and of these she 
elected the latter, in consequence, I imagine, of some technical 
necessity connected with her bridegroom's residence in that parish. 
Of bridesmaids, I understand, she had exactly four couple, though 
why so large an escort should have been requisite, what were the 
duties of these beautiful auxiliaries, or how far the bride derived 
moral support from their presence, I am at a loss to conjecture. 
There they were, nevertheless, all in pink, decorated, besides, 
with ornaments of rubies, precisely similar in pattern, presented 
by the bridegroom. 

Miss Tregunter herself was obliged to abandon her favourite 
colour, in compliance with the dictates of an over-fastidious civili- 
sation, but preserved as much of it as possible in her cheeks, so 
that when she dropped her veil, Burton, who was best man on 
the occasion, felt forcibly reminded of the lace-covered toilet- 
table in her dressing-room, as he beheld it when admitted with 
other hymeneal officials to a public view of her trousseau laid out 
in that apartment. 

The Dandy was free from his difficulties after all, and had 
escaped far better than he deserved. There are men in the 
world, more than we generally suppose, for whom it is an im- 
possibility to hit an enemy when he is down, and Gerard Ainslie 
was one of them. During Fanny's illness this gentleman could 
not, of course, leave England, as he had originally intended, and 
the disposal, at considerable loss, of the district he had purchased 
in South America, with the sale of that well-found barque, The 
White Rose, letter A, No. 1, entered at Lloyd's clinker-built ana 
copper-fastened, besides full freight and provisions lying on board 
of her in London Docks, put him in possession of a large sura 
of ready money, for which he believed he could find no more 
fitting use than to extricate Burton from his most pressing 

$5$ Tke White Rose. 

liabilities, thus, to use Dolly Egremont's expression, "setting 
nim on his legs again, though the beggar didn't deserve it, and 
giving him one more chance to be a man or a mouse ! " 

There was but little of the sentimental in Mr. Burton's com- 
position ; but his wonted eloquence deserted him when he grasped 
the friend's hand whom he had injured so cruelly, and tried to 
thank him, with dry lips and a knot in his throat. For once his 
heart was too full to speak. 

He made a capital "best man" for Dolly though, neverthe- 
less, arranging all the details and ceremonious observances of 
the wedding, with a tact that seems especially accorded by 
nature to those who are predestined to remain bachelors them- 
selves. The cake with its ring and thimble was ordered, and I 
believe compounded under his directions. The lawyers were 
hastened, the license was procured, the clergyman advertised, 
the wedding-feast provided, and the invitations were sent 
out. Not the most distant relation of bride or bridegroom was 
omitted, and I have been unable to learn that anybody took 
offence at the slightest neglect or want of deference during the 
whole proceedings, so that when Theresa in the vestry signed 
her name to the register with a nourish, just below " Cousin 
Charles," she was justified in affirming that through the whole 
course of her experience she had never been concerned in so 
orderly, so well-conducted, and altogether so decorous a wedding ! 

They were likely to be indeed a happy couple ; and every one 
of their friends wished them well. None more so than a man . 
in deep mourning passing down the street, as the last carriage 1 
with its liveried servants, brilliant in bouquets and white favours, 
set its freight of beauty down at the church door. His dress 
denoted that he had lately sustained some domestic bereavement, 
but on Gerard Ainslie's brow might be traced a joyous expression 
of hope and confidence, such as it had not worn since the days 
of Marston Rectory and Ripley marshes, long ago. In his eyes 
had come that light which the poet tells us was " never yet on 
sea or shore," but which most of us have seen at some period 
of our lives, in the eyes we best love to look on here below 
that we humbly hope may shine on us unchanged in heaven 

The association of ideas, the links on which thought follows 
thought, as wave succeeds to wave, and the tendency to speak 
aloud when none but ourselves can hear, are amongst the eccen- 
tricities of reason, the most eccentric, the most unreasonable. 
Turning into St. James's Street, a crossing-sweeper, on whom 

After long years. 3 37 

he bestowed a shilling, was the only listener to Gerard's uncon- 
nected thanksgiving. 

" What have I done to deserve to btf so happy ? How can I 
ever hope to be worthy of her ? I suppose my darling will have 
to be married in a bonnet, when the year is out. She surely 
won't insist on waiting longer than that t " 

And Norah didn't ! 






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3 Beeton's Modern Men and Women: A British Bio- 

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4 Beeton's Bible Dictionary : A Cyclopaedia of the 

Geography, Biography, Narratives, and Truths of Scripture. 

5 Beeton's Classical Dictionary : A Cyclopaedia of 

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6 Beeton's Medical Dictionary: A Guide to the Symp- 

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7 Beeton's Date Book : A British Chronology. 

8 Beeton's Dictionary of Commerce. Containing Ex- 

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12 Don't : A Manual of Mistakes 

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13 CommonBlundersin Writing. 

Uniform with "Don't.'' 

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\& Stop! A Handy Monitor and 
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17 Discriminate! A Companion 

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18 English as she is Wrote. 

Uniform with " Don't. '* 

19 Ingglish az she iz Spelt. 

Uniform with " Don't." 

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Beeton's Shilling Gardening Book. Fully Illustrated. 
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Webster's Pocket Dictionary of the English 


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Beeton's Family Washing Book. For Fifty-two Week?. 
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Ward and Lock's English and German Dictionary. 

Complete Etiquette for Ladies. 

Complete Etiquette for Gentlemen. 

Complete Etiquette for Families. 

Mrs. Warren's Economical Cookery Book. Illust. 

The Etiquette of Modern Society. 

Guide to the Stock Exchange. Revised Edition. 

Tegg's Readiest Reckoner ever Invented. 

The Bible Student's Handbook. 

Speeches and Toasts: How to Make and Propose them. 

Ward and Lock's New Pronouncing Dictionary. 

Grammar Made Easy: The Child's Home Lesson Book. 

Child's First Book of Natural History. Illustrated. 

Webster's Dictionary of Quotations. With full Index. 

The Pocket Map of London, and 32,000 Cab Fares. 

Beeton's Recipe Book. Uniform with Beeton's Cookery. 

Walker and Webster's Dictionary of the English 


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The Holiday Companion, and Tourist's Guide. 
Ward and Lock's Indestructible ABC. Illustrated. 
Doubts, Difficulties, and Doctrines. By Dr. 

Mortimer Granville. 

Beeton's Dictionary of Natural History. Illustrated. 
The Dictionary of Every-day Difficulties. 
Webster's Illustrated Spelling Book. 
Beeton's Book of Songs. New and Improved Edition. 
The Human Body : Its Structure. Functions, and Design. 
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Brain Work and Overwork. 

Sick Nursing: A Handbook for all who have to do with 

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9 Sleep: How to Obtain It. 

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ii Sea Air and Sea Bathing. 

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the Queen, 
Empress of India 



The Queen's Patent for Excellence. Highest Award in the World. 

In Quarter, Half; and Pound Packets. 
QUARTER POUND, Id. each. Full Directions on each 



" Perfection of Packet Soap." Under Her Majesty's Royal Patent for Utility. 

In Quarter, Half, and Pound Packets. Full Directions on each. 

















r The QUEEN'S^ 


Imparts Enamel-like Gloss to the Starch, and gives Permanent Stiffness and 
Brilliancy to Muslin, Lace, Linen Collars, Cuffs, &c. 

In Packets, Id., 3d., and Boxes 6d. each. Full Directions on each. 


"The DZousehold Treasure. — Pure Antiseptic." 

Specially Prepared for Personal and Domestic Uses. Marvellous Purifier, Water 
Softener, Dirt Expeller, Taint Remover, Food Preserver, and Arrester of Decay. 



In Id., 3d., and 6d. Packets. Directions and Recipes on each. 

Sold by Grocers, Oilmen, and Dealers in Soap Everywhere. 
Discovery, Uses, Borax Book, with Sample Packet, Two Stamps direct from the Works. 





^ Asthma, 

•"■ TDronchitis. 

T~\r. J. Co i.i is Browne's 

' " ' ' This won- 


Cm i »k< ii 

derful remedy v 

I »R. J. IlknWNH. .in.! the 
wi.rd CHI.uRoDYNK (.-"in.-. I by 
h:m expressly to designate it. 
I i.ere never has htcn a remedy 
so vastly beneficial to suffering 
humanity, and it is a subject of 
deep concern to the public that 
they should not be imposed upon 
by having imitations pressed upon 
thern on account of cheapness, 
and as being- the same thing-. DR. 

J. Collis Browne's Chloro- 

DYNE is a totally distinct thing- 
fruni the spurious compounds 
cilled Chlorodyne, the use of 

which >nl\ uidun dir-..ij .point men t 
and failure. 

T)r. J. Collis Browne's 

Chl o k u d y s k.— Vice- 

< ''isncellor Sir W. PAi ,H Wot H) 
S"i ATKI) Pl'I.LICLY in C"iirt 

V N I » H t UTKI 1LY the I N V EN - 
T()R <.f CHLORODYNE. that 
the wli.-lc M.iry ot the delwuknt 
was tlclil)t;r.arly untrue, and he 
regretted to s.iy it had been sworn 
tii. —Sec Tht J Hues, July 13th, 

TAr J. Collis Browne's 
X- ' < III.nkiinVNEis a 
LhU'll > M I- 1 >U i.N]-: which 

AS5UAC.ES PAIN of every 
kind, allot ds a calm re (resiling 
sl< r-p \\ II IK M.-'l ■ III- A DAi HJ-, and 
I.W It .OKA 1 l-.S the NkkYuUS 
SvsJHM when exhausted. 

"P\r. J. Collis Browne's 
**^ Chlorodyne is the 


Cholera, Dysentery, Diar- 

that it ACTS as a CHARM, one 
dose g-enerally sufficient. 

Dr. GIBBON, Army Medical 
Staff, Calcutta, says ;—" TWO 

T~"%r. J. Cnu. is Bkownk's 
Chlorodyne rapidly 

cuts short all attacks of EPI- 

Li'i'sY, spasms, Colic, Palpi- 
tation, HYSTERIA. 

"P\r. J. Collis Browne's 
"^"^ Chi.oki iDVNr- is the tkuh 

PALI. I A I IVh in N Bt 'k Ala.lA, 

goi 1,1 am )• i-: , t' " 1 1 ii a'.hh, 

A The IMMENSE Salh of this 
Remedy has g-iven rise to many 

N.B.— Every Bottle of 
Genuine Chlorodyne bears 
on the Government Stamp 

the name of the INVENTOR, 

"T\r. J. Collis Browne. 


2s. 9d. , 4s. 6d. by all Chemists. 

Sole Manufacturer, 

J. T. Davenport, 33, Great 

Russell Street, W.C. 


Safe and Harmless. Has cured Hundreds. 

" Deaf for Forty Years, and then cured." 

Sre, — My sale for your " Cure for Deafness " increases. A man here who 
has been deaf forty years has had his hearing restored by it. — J. Green, 
Chemist, Christchurch. 

ij. lYid. per Bottle. Free by post for 14 stamps from 


Any Chemist can procure it to order. 



•.-.-•: -»:::t>x-.^ 

BUG Safe 

Sold in Tins 6 J I/-&2/6 



Sold everywhere in Tins, 
i/i| each. 





p Coughs, Colds, Asui mas, <$;c. 

— ISuId in Boxes at is. i^d. & as. od with 
X directions. Sent post fret for 15 stamps. 

f Direct to A. EEKMNQ3, Went Cowes, I.w. 

^ The largest sized .Boxes 2s. 9d. (35 stamps post 

Ofree). contains three times the quantity of the small 
boxes. ' 


~? Sent p. . free, 13 stamps. 

CO Direct A. FENN1NCW, West Cowes, I.W. 


Fenninga' Children's Powders Prevent 



For Children Cutting their Teeth. 
||| To prevent Convulsions, 

^™ Do not contain Calomel, Opium Morphia, nor 

\ [ 1 anything injurious to a tender babe. 

|— Sold in Stamped Boxes at is. ijd- and 
2S. od. (great saving), with full direc- 
■ .1 tions. Sent post free, 15 stamps. 

1 \ West Cowes I W 

which contains valuable bintB on Feeding, Teething, 
f/j Weaning. Sipping, etc. 

Ask your Chemist for a. Free Copy. 






Sore Throats Cured with One Dose. — 


BOWEL COMPLAINTS cured with One Dose. 2 C ~H 

T 'PHTJS or Low Fever cured with Two Doses. ^ 3J 3C 

DIPHTHERIA cured with Three Doses. m m _— 

SCARLET FEVER cured with Four Doses. _0S| 

DYSENTERY cured with Five Doses. £3 a 

o -tin Bottles at is. ibd. each, with full directions, *— * «**^ 

By all Chemists. CO ~H 

Read FENNIN6S' EVERYBODY'S DOCTOR. Sent post free for 13 stamps. m CO 
Direct A. FENNINBS, West Co»es. I.W. 



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Hi 'souoo JSOii 'S0SIKK3I Y1»»"II CO 

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